Unite, the London-listed student accommodation provider, has sealed a substantial joint venture agreement with Newcastle University, set to reshape the student housing landscape.

The partnership entails the development of 2,000 new student beds, a response to the burgeoning demand for quality housing in the academic sphere.

Under the terms of the deal, Unite’s subsidiary, Unite Students, will collaborate closely with Newcastle University to bring this ambitious accommodation project to fruition by 2027 and 2028. The venture involves the redevelopment of Newcastle University’s existing Castle Leazes accommodation, with plans to commence demolition in the summer of 2024.

Castle Leazes, a fixture since its construction in 1969 and situated a mere 10 minutes from the campus, will undergo a comprehensive overhaul, aligning with modern standards of comfort and convenience. The total investment earmarked for this endeavor amounts to a substantial £250 million.

Expressing enthusiasm for the collaboration, Joe Lister, Chief Executive Officer of Unite Students, remarked, “Partnering with Newcastle University to redevelop Castle Leazes and deliver 2,000 beds of high-quality, affordable accommodation for students is a hugely exciting step for Unite Students. This partnership underscores our commitment to supporting universities in addressing the pressing accommodation needs amidst a backdrop of housing shortages.”

The announcement comes amid a backdrop of escalating challenges for students seeking suitable living arrangements. A recent study by Savills revealed a concerning trend, with approximately three students vying for each available bed in purpose-built student accommodation. The housing crunch has prompted universities nationwide to resort to unconventional measures to mitigate the crisis.

Commenting on the situation, estate agent Savills noted, “Universities have been compelled to take extraordinary measures in response to the shortage. The University of York and the University of Bristol have expanded into neighboring towns and cities, while the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow have resorted to innovative solutions such as converting common rooms into dormitories and housing students in hotels.”

In light of these challenges, Unite’s strategic collaboration with Newcastle University stands as a beacon of hope, offering a tangible solution to address the pressing accommodation needs of students, ensuring a conducive environment for academic excellence.