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World-class accommodation model a drawcard for students

A fan of shared facilities matched with hassle-free furnished accommodation – Carlaw Park Student Village Stanley Street is all about fun and focussed study

The opening of the country’s largest student accommodation facility is set to boost the infrastructure of New Zealand’s tertiary education sector.

Developers say the $250 million University of Auckland facility is designed to create a new model in student accommodation, which can be deployed throughout the country to address a shortage of self-contained apartments in tertiary institutions.

Attracting international students and retaining domestic students

The development of the new accommodation infrastructure is seen as an important strategic step in helping to attract international students and retain domestic students within New Zealand as the global market for tertiary education is re-established.

According to government data, international students generated at least $1.25 billion a year for New Zealand prior to Covid, and universities’ overseas earnings from education represented 1.2% of the country’s exports.

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest tertiary institution and latest data shows the proportion of international students has declined as a result of the pandemic.


Carlaw Park Student Village – Stage Three – Stanley Street

Carlaw Park Student Village has been built on former sporting stadium grounds and was first conceived 20 years ago.

The complex has 416 three-to-six-bedroom apartments and can accommodate over 1600 residents – with the opening of the new ten storey 28,000m² third stage building on Stanley Street, the largest of its kind in the country, adding 907 rooms.

In addition to the third stage building, the Village extends the University’s campus by 52,000m².

The facility was inspired by US college accommodation and is built around a large central courtyard which can accommodate recreational activities ranging from volleyball to BBQs. 

Extensive consultation with students has also seen the incorporation of new design elements including cinema rooms, gaming areas, retail, communal kitchens, music rooms, e-bike storage, study and artistic spaces. 

Acoustic sound proofing is designed to create an urban oasis, despite being in close proximity to a motorway entrance.

University of Auckland research suggests the accommodation model, which incorporates apartment rental, utilities, internet and gym membership into one fixed cost, is around 17% cheaper for students than living in a private flat off campus.

The analysis shows these aggregated annual savings across the 907 students housed in the largest of the three buildings equate to $4.4 million.

Self-contained apartment model common overseas

Adrienne Cleland, deputy vice-chancellor and registrar of the University of Auckland, says the self-contained apartment model is common in tertiary institutions overseas, particularly USA, UK and Australia, however in New Zealand it's more likely to see a higher proportion of traditional student halls of residences.

She says there is significant local demand for on-campus accommodation and the university had 8500 applications last year for around 4500 beds available in their facilities.

“In New Zealand, students living on campus will typically go into a catered hall-style accommodation in their first year. 

“After that they tend to migrate to private flatting as often the local infrastructure is not sufficient to support the higher volume of students needing accommodation during the term.

World class (and fully furnished)

“The self-contained model means all students are on an equal footing, which mitigates many of the disputes which can manifest in flatting situations where one tenant holds the lease.

“It also means their living space is fully furnished and they have none of the challenges associated with sourcing beds, furniture or whiteware and they can budget on a fixed weekly cost of $300 per week.

“The development of this new accommodation facility is designed to provide students with a world standard education experience, which in turn helps to develop our international reputation and to ensure we remain competitive in the global market,” she says.

Cleland says the addition of 907 rooms brings the university closer to its target of 7,500 beds which will allow them to house around 16% of its current student population and helps improve access to tertiary education for the domestic market as well.

Additional capacity for other needs

Greg Reidy, director of Reidy & Co, the co-developers of Carlaw Park Student Village – along with construction firm Haydn & Rollett – says changing market dynamics in the real estate industry have exacerbated a shortage of student flats near the CBD.

He says the new model used in the village also provides additional accommodation capacity in the city centre for sporting events and conferences during peak summer season – with 50% of residents vacating their apartments during this time and the revenue used to subsidise the cost for students.

“A number of the older houses in Mt Eden, Parnell and Grafton suburbs have been sold to owner occupiers who have renovated them to become their family home – as a result, it has become increasingly hard to get a student flat close to university in recent years.

“This new development is designed to address the undersupply of good quality student flats within walking distance of the University of Auckland. We believe the project has achieved this objective at a standard beyond anything built to date,” Reidy says.

Looking to expand accommodation model through the country

Kim Barrett, director of Ergon Properties which owns the Carlaw Park Student Village buildings, says tertiary institutions can face a number of barriers to expanding their campus infrastructure.

Barrett says they are looking to expand the accommodation model throughout New Zealand and are in conversations with other tertiary institutions.

“While we know that high quality accommodation infrastructure is essential to attracting students, often campuses are based in the centre of a city which means the university is competing with other motivated parties for a small number of suitable commercial sites.

“We have developed a model which helps these institutions secure a long-term lease on the building which becomes part of their property pool – without the upfront capital investment usually needed,” he says.

Cleland says in addition to long-term leases, including on the Carlaw Park accommodation buildings, the university has invested around $300 million on capital infrastructure over the past decade.

She says residents in the village will also have free access to a new six storey 21,600m² university recreation and wellness centre which will be completed in 2024.

Credit list

Project
Carlaw Park Student Village – Stage Three – Stanley Street
Developer
Reidy & Co
Construction
Haydn & Rollett
Owner
Ergon Properties
Architect
Aston Mitchell

Designed by: Aston Mitchell

Story by: Trendsideas

16 Apr, 2023

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