£61m flats set to bring 794 beds to Sheffield city centre - and most are for students

Demolition is about to start which will pave the way for a £61m flats complex in Sheffield city centre, as demand for purpose-built accommodation shows no sign of abating.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 2:08 pm
Image of the new complex looking up Bailey Lane.

Diggers have moved on to the old Grunwerg site on Rockingham Street, which is set to be transformed into five blocks up to 17 storeys high with 794 beds.

Some 691 will be for students, with an additional 103 beds in up-market ‘build-to-rent’ flats aimed at young professionals. There will also be a commercial unit.

Welsh building company Watkin Jones is behind the project and has already agreed to sell it to AIG Global Real Estate. It is set to complete in stages between August 2021 and the end of March 2022.

The façade of the partially surviving J & Riley Carr building on Bailey Lane would be retained, including a stone statue of Stanch the dog above the door.

In the past five years, Watkin Jones has built flats with 2,297 student beds in Sheffield, on Edward Street, Rockingham Street, Suffolk Road, Sharman Court on Broad Lane and the giant Hollis Croft development for 972 students on the road of the same name.

But bosses insist there is still plenty of demand for ‘purpose-built student accommodation’ despite dozens of other schemes with hundreds of beds opening in Sheffield in recent years.

A Watkin Jones spokeswoman said: “As a leading developer our primary focus is on creating great places to live.

“We continue to see really positive momentum across the purpose-built student accommodation sector.

“Investor appetite remains close to record levels supported by strong occupational demand. Sheffield certainly remains a vibrant and attractive student city and destination.”

Some councillors on the planning board have raised concerns that student blocks do not pay council tax. But developers say they free up homes in the suburbs for families at a time of high demand and students pump millions into the local economy.

Watkin Jones will pay £699,390 in community infrastructure levy to Sheffield City Council in three instalments between December 2019 and October 2021.

But there will be no affordable housing because the site lies within an area of the city centre with no such requirement.

An archaeological report states the site has potential for the presence of remains associated with the nineteenth century industrial development of Sheffield, including furnaces probably associated with the former Bailey Lane steelwor ks, thought to have been established in about 1820 by Carr & Co.

The façade of the J & Riley Carr building on Bailey Lane would be retained, including a stone statue of Stanch the dog above the door.