Work Starts on Student Tower at King’s Cross

Posted: Wednesday 18th July 2012

Student housing developer urbanest has begun work at King’s Cross on a stunning landmark building which will provide the next generation of student accommodation in Central London. The building, designed by award-winning Glenn Howells Architects, will deliver 657 student bedrooms over 27 storeys within an iconic stone-clad structure.

urbanest has now completed an acquisition of a long lease from King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) to deliver the building on plot T6 at the northern end of its estate. Development and investment finance for the project has been secured via a £45.2m club development facility provided by Barclays Corporate and RBS Real Estate Finance.

One of urbanest’s key goals is to develop and manage high quality student housing in Central London locations at more affordable rents. The proposed development at King’s Cross will reflect this approach by incorporating a wide range of shared flats, with media centre, large common rooms, private study areas and external terraces. Along with a landscaped courtyard, urbanest will also commission public art that will feature at the entrance. Convenient food retailing and catering facilities will be incorporated at ground floor level fronting onto York Way and Canal Street.

The building, which is being constructed by Mansell Construction Services, is urbanest’s third major student housing project in Central London. Its internal layout and specification has been designed in consultation with a number of universities and colleges, and the building will be ready for students to move in for the 2013/14 academic year.

As with all urbanest developments, the building is designed to be highly sustainable and achieve major carbon savings and a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. The building will link into KCCLP’s low carbon site-wide district energy system which includes a major new energy centre in plot T1, incorporating combined heat and power (CHP) engines. KCCLP’s significant investment in low carbon energy is a major attraction for urbanest and this building will enable the switch on of a major new CHP engine. Infrastructure needed for the development, including utilities, a new road and a new junction with York Way, is already in place.

The tower element of the scheme will create a strong urban marker at the northern end of the 67 acre King’s Cross Central development site where a number of other buildings are now going up, including the development’s first affordable homes. And this September the Granary Complex will become home to 4,500 staff and students at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, part of the University of Arts London.

Johnny Manns, from urbanest, said:

“urbanest’s building at King’s Cross represents a very significant step forward in the evolution of our London business, and is the culmination of much hard work involving our longstanding university, finance and construction partners.

We are delighted that our vision to bring the best living experience to students around the world can be realised at King’s Cross, the UK’s most important and innovative urban regeneration project. We very much look forward to welcoming students from both the UK and abroad to King’s Cross in 2013, and delivering the level of service and care our customers expect.

Robert Evans, from King’s Cross, said:

“We are delighted that this landmark student accommodation building for King’s Cross has now started on site. This is another important milestone for the project. We have worked closely with urbanest to bring forward a building that will enhance the original masterplan and unlock yet further investment in new public realm and other infrastructure at King’s Cross.

“This is the third major building start along York Way. Buildings R4 and R5 are already on site and on track to complete next year, just ahead of urbanest. Together these three buildings will provide many new, affordable homes alongside specialist accommodation for students studying at King’s Cross or elsewhere in Central London. ”

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