ASPIRING TO NEW STUDENT LIVING
Richard Pillar, chairman of Pillar Land Securities
Aspire House, a new £4.5million luxury student block in Mayflower Street, is seeing its first customers moving in – and every room will be occupied by October.
Millbay-based Pillar Land Securities who is behind the venture opened the doors of the six-story building for the local press to view earlier this week.
Richard Pillar, chairman of Pillar Land Securities was there to meet and greet, and give a guided tour of this impressive, new high-spec style accommodation, which is targeting overseas and older students – who want a more spacious living, he said.
The block will house 79 students, in one, two and three-bed apartments, and 10 shared-kitchen “demis”.
There will be a gym, a cinema and free laundry, and every room is fitted out to a high standard and comes with a kitchen, bathroom, some of which even have baths, and a 32-inch TV.
And it is a truly “smart” building, with each flat having access to a network of CCTV cameras, so residents can check who’s at the door, if the laundry room is available, and even contact their friends on other floors, said Mr Pillar.
It is so smart the computer system even sends a message to tradesmen, such as gas fitters, if there is a problem with the building.
Mr Pillar said the block, which he said now has an asset value of £7.5million, has therefore been “future-proofed” because each flat or studio could be transformed into a luxurious pad for non-students, if the market dips.
“This building has been built with flexibility in mind,” he said. “It could easily be serviced apartments. It’s as nice as serviced apartments I have stayed at in London.
“We didn’t scrimp on anything, the flooring cost £50 a metre. It’s all good quality.”
Plymouth based Creative Construction has worked hard to get the building completed in time, and is ready to house its first occupants.
Mr Pillar, said: “It was a challenging build, being placed on top of a former supermarket, last used by electrical retailer Comet. A commercial space on the ground floor will be completed in the next two weeks.
Mr Pillar said there has been “interest” in both the units, but “nothing has been signed yet.”
Henry Hutchins of Clever Student Lets and Richard Pillar
The student rooms have been filled by Clever Student Lets, whose chief executive Henry Hutchins said the rooms had been snapped up months ago because of its location and spec.”
“Over 70 per cent of inhabitants would be overseas students, with many of the others second- and third-year undergraduates,” he said.
“Some of the five three-bed and 13 two-bed flats had been booked by friends looking to live together.”
“With the 18 single studios in the building being spacious, at up to 30sq m in comparison to 16sq m in some student blocks, he said it had increased their desirability.”
“There will be hundreds of empty studios in the city,” he predicted. “Students want to mix and other don’t give the students the experience or value for money. That’s why this block is full.”
With Pillar Land Securities contributing to a £430,000 landscaping scheme around the block, Mr Pillar said Aspire would help transform the West End of the city centre.
“This could be the catalyst for future investment in the West End,” he said.
And Mr Hutchins added: “It will bring more money into the bottom of Cornwall Street, which shopkeepers desperately need.
“And these are students with serious money. Even if they spend £100 each a week that’s £70,000 (a term) being spent in this area.”
“I’m being conservative with that number,” he said.