The University of Waikato has leased two apartment blocks to help accommodate the influx of students expected to arrive when the new CBD campus opens next year.
The apartments, the Durham Mews Apartments on Durham St and the Mayfair Court Apartments off 15th Ave, will house about 55 students for the next two years.
A number of private developers own the Mayfair Court Apartments, while the Durham Mews is privately owned by Quintex Properties Holdings - the same developer who obtained resource consents worth millions to build new student apartment buildings on Selwyn and Durham streets.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley said securing the two apartment blocks would help attract international students to stay on after their studies.
"They like the certainty of accommodation rented through the university," he said.
"Once they have been here for a semester or a year they might decide to look for their own accommodation."
Quigley said there was plenty of demand for student accommodation in Tauranga.
"A lot of parents have a preference for seeing their children going into university-run accommodation for a start," he said.
The university was also looking at other buildings to manage as student accommodation or partnering with private developers to convert properties into student living, he said.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones was pleased to have secured complexes so close to the new Tauranga campus.
The rooms were on a two-year renewable lease, which Jones said gave the university time to find more long-term accommodation.
Quintex Properties Holdings director John McColl said the company had worked alongside the university and other key stakeholders to help provide student accommodation options.
McColl said the company's vision for Tauranga was focused on helping to build a revitalised CBD with an injection of "youth, talent and vibrancy".
As a result, the company obtained resource consent to build a four-storey development with 87 rooms at 38 Selwyn St and a 12-storey development with 430 rooms at 145-153 Durham St.
However, construction of the Durham St development would only start once demand for student accommodation had reached peak levels.
McColl said the Selwyn St student living facility was purpose-built to meet the demand of a growing student base and would mean more students would stay in Tauranga to study.
"On-campus student residences are a core component in the make-up of a tertiary campus, and will strengthen student life here," McColl said.
Priority One's chief operating officer Greg Simmonds said Tauranga's ability to accommodate increasing student numbers was important if the city was to be seen as a "tertiary destination of choice" nationally and internationally.
Simmonds said suitable student accommodation close to the CBD campus would enhance Tauranga's attractiveness as a study destination for local and international students.
It was good to see the university and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology working together to develop student accommodation in the city, he said.
Education Tauranga regional manager Anne Young said student accommodation close to the campus was a crucial component in attracting students to Tauranga.
"For international students, securing accommodation can be an extremely daunting task," she said.
"Having this certainty of accommodation will ease the transition to living and studying abroad and will provide an outlet for international students to meet new people."
The chairman of Mainstreet organisation Downtown Tauranga, Brian Berry, said the provision of student accommodation, easy-to-use public transport and cycleways were essential for the success of the new campus.
"The location of the campus in the CBD, with initially close to a thousand students and staff, will add dramatically to the sense of vitality in the CBD as they move about, socialise, and shop in the CBD," he said.
Berry said to truly make Tauranga a "varsity city", further student accommodation needed to be developed or converted from existing commercial property stock in the CBD.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology acting executive and dean of teaching, learning and research, Wendy Horne, said a variety of accommodation options was important for attracting new students to the city.
Horne said 6500 students were expected to enrol at its Tauranga campuses in 2019, with a variety of student accommodation offered near its Windermere Campus, including shared student flats, independent student housing and home stay options.
TAURANGA'S STUDENT ACCOMMODATION:
Mayfair Court Apartments
- 8 apartments
- 38 beds
Durham Mews Apartments
- 6 three-bedroom apartments
38 Selwyn St
- Four-storey development
- 87 ensuited rooms plus manager's apartment
- e-bike storage charging station
- Communal kitchens
- Games room
- Music room
- Each level contains a large northwest-facing communal area
- Construction set to begin early-mid next year
145-153 Durham St
- Twelve-storey development
- 430 rooms
- Capacity for 400 students
- 12,000sq m
- Ground floor retail
- Dining hall and kitchen