GMI Construction Group begins work on £50m York student accommodation scheme for developer Olympian Homes


Libby Whitaker-Keating

GMI Construction Group has broken ground on a £50m student accommodation scheme on the site of a former York cinema and bingo hall

Developer Olympian Homes is naming the purpose-build student accommodation (PBSA) Rialto House, after the cinema that once hosted a performance by The Beatles.

Spanning 80,000 sq. feet, the four-storey building in the Fulford area will provide 275 beds alongside an array of modern amenities, including a gym, yoga studio, games room, co-working spaces, group dining areas, integrated cycle parking, and landscaped courtyards. In a nod to its heritage, it will also feature a cinema.

The development is a 10-minute walk from the city centre and seven minute bus ride from the University of York.

The site of the Rialto Cinema, which opened in 1913 and demolished in 2003, is located within an area of archaeological importance and adjacent to the Centra Core Historic Conservation Area.

Latterly the site of the cinema became a car park for the adjacent Mecca bingo hall, which has also since been demolished and is within the scheme’s footprint.

GMI, which is utilising a predominantly local supply chain on the project, is highly active in the PBSA market, with Rialto House bringing the number of student beds it is building in the city to almost 600. This includes 303-beds at a scheme in James Street on behalf of York-based S Harrison Developments, which is currently under construction.

Andrew Hurcomb, GMI’s Regional Director for Yorkshire, said: “We are thrilled to begin construction on our on-going collaboration with Olympian Homes to deliver a cost-effective, and sustainable design that helps address a shortage of student accommodation in York.”

James Lindridge, COO & Development Director at Olympian Homes, added: “We are delighted to have now made significant progress on such a landmark site within York.

We would like to thank York City Council for their ongoing support in delivering the scheme, and GMI for their professionalism and deft in getting to this stage. We look forward to showcasing a best-in-class student product to assist with the undersupply of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation within York.”