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University Links With Private Firm For Halls

Coventry’s derelict YWCA is to be transformed into a 92-bedroom luxury hall of residence for students in a £2 million development.

Cromwell Developments, part of the city-based Benfield Group, has bought the empty buildings and is set to transform them.

The company has agreed a lease for the complex in Sherbourne House in Meadow Street with Coventry University. It is hoped the first students will move in for the beginning of the next academic year.

Managing director Clive Benfield said the buildings, which have been empty for two years, would be completely refitted to bring them up to the highest standards for student accommodation.

He said:

"We will be creating 92 en-suite rooms which will be grouped in apartments, with a kitchen and lounge for every five or six rooms.

“It is a major refurbishment including new windows and central heating to provide high quality furnished accommodation for students. We will also be providing the management of the building.

"The exact configuration of the building has yet to be finalised but we hope that students will be moving in later this year."

Professor Donald Pennington, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University, said the move was part of a drive to provide higher quality standard of student accommodation.

He said:

"This is the first time we have worked like this with a private developer when we have not owned the land or the building.

"Many universities are working well with private housing companies or housing associations in order to develop such schemes.

"National surveys of students living away from home show that good quality accommodation is in demand. Students work hard at their chosen course of study, with many having part time jobs. Given this they prefer to live in pleasant, easy to manage, well-provided accommodation."

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CWN / Business / A-Z / Benfield Group / 25 Jan 01
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