GMI secures £50m York student accommodation scheme with Olympian Homes


Libby Whitaker-Keating

GMI Construction Group PLC has secured a contract with Olympian Homes for the construction of a £50 million student accommodation scheme on the site of a former cinema and Bingo Hall in York

Located to the south east of the city centre, in the Fulford area, the 80,000 sq foot site will feature a four storey building comprising of 275 beds and facilities including a gym yoga studio, games room, co-working and group dining areas. In recognition of the location’s history the scheme will feature a cinema.

Other facilities will include integrated cycle parking and landscaped courtyards.

This is the latest purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development to be delivered by Olympian Homes, which is also active in hotel, Build to Rent, co-living and affordable housing sectors. This project is being delivered in partnership with funder Cain International.

GMI has worked closely with Olympian Homes and its professional team throughout the Pre-Construction Services Agreement period to develop a buildable, cost-effective and sustainable design.

Construction is due to begin in the coming weeks, following the completion of archaeological works.

The site is located within an area of archaeological importance and adjacent to the Central Core Historic Conservation Area.  An open day displaying any finds will be held at the site once the archaeological works are complete.

Olympian Homes’ scheme will be named Rialto House, recognising the famous cinema that once stood on the site.  Opened in 1913 and demolished in 2003, the cinema played host to many famous performances, including The Beatles who performed there four times in 1963.

Latterly the site of the cinema became a car park for the adjacent bingo hall, which has also since closed and is included in the footprint of this PBSA scheme.

The development supports the need to address the shortage of PBSA in the city.  Following analysis of the rental markets of the top 50 UK universities it was reported earlier this year that York had the highest demand for PBSA in the country.

GMI, which will utilise a predominantly local supply chain on the project, is highly active in the PBSA market, with this new development brining the number of student beds it is building in York 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 Construction’s Regional Director for Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to have secured this contract with Olympian Homes, which is allowing us to continue to contribute to the creation of much needed purpose-built student accommodation in York.  Rialto House is a great location, close to the city centre and the university campuses and will support the city in attracting students who want to study in this beautiful and historic city.”

James Lindridge, COO & Development Director at Olympian Homes, said “This marks the delivery phase of another scheme for Olympian Homes and aims to address the undersupply of high-quality, purpose-built student accommodation within York. It has been a pleasure to work with the Council, local stakeholders and GMI to deliver this scheme.

William Sharpey, Senior Construction Manager at Olympian Homes, said: “From identifying GMI as our Contracting Partner on Rialto House to getting on site it has been a positive journey, not without its challenges in a difficult economic environment for construction. I look forward to working with GMI on the delivery of the scheme and exploring synergy between our businesses on upcoming opportunities.”