A five-storey building could accommodate more than 100 students in Tauranga's CBD if resource consent for a student living facility on Selwyn St is approved.
Quintex Properties Holdings has applied with the Tauranga City Council for resource consent to build a 116-unit student living facility at 38 Selwyn St, currently occupied by a vacant Avonmore Tertiary Institute building.
Company director John McColl said he submitted the resource consent in response to the University of Waikato's Expression of Interest for a "purpose-fit" student accommodation facility in Tauranga.
McColl said the facility would align with the university's needs and its students in a "cost-effective and manageable fashion".
"Like the University of Waikato, our vision for Tauranga is strongly focused on helping revitalise the CBD with an injection of youth, talent and vibrancy," he said.
McColl said construction would begin in November 2018 and would be completed by early 2020 if the company is successful in partnering with the university.
"A student accommodation development is a very important part of the tertiary education precinct puzzle and is inevitably going to bring vibrancy and energy to the city centre," he said.
Ewa Fenn, who lives across the road from where the new building would be, said: "It's not quite what we expect to be on this street, really."
She said Selwyn St was a one-way street with not enough car parks and it was predominately a residential area.
"To put here a five-storey building, it doesn't quite match with the rest of the street."
She questioned whether there would be enough provision for more car parking with the new building.
"At the moment, you can't park the car during the day anyway … so I can't imagine how you can fit 100-plus students in this space without any car parking option."
She thought it was a good idea to get more students living in the CBD but said the new building was probably better placed in a non-residential street.
According to the resource consent, the building proposal includes 14 on-site parking spaces, though more would be needed at peak times.
A transport assessment found it would have a "low" impact on Selwyn St parking and the building was well placed to promote alternative transport.
The plan is QP Property Holdings Limited's second proposal for a student accommodation facility in Tauranga's CBD.
The company applied to build a $40m tertiary student accommodation complex with 392 rooms on 145 and 153 Durham St, near the university's Tauranga campus development, in 2017.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology executive director of corporate services Anthony Robertson said there was a desperate lack of student accommodation in Tauranga.
"It is something that Toi Ohomai has concerns about," he said. "While a lot of our domestic students stay in the family home during their studies, many do want to move out and have their own independence but find that the supply of student accommodation is just not there."
Robertson said a lack of student accommodation created problems when attracting international students.
"The lack of suitable accommodation is seen as a barrier to entry, which is not just bad for tertiary education providers but for the economy as a whole," he said.
Student accommodation near the new university and Toi Ohomai's Bongard campus facilities on Cameron Rd would create a "vibrant tertiary education precinct".
"Living in such a beautiful city and being able to choose to walk or drive to your campus would enhance the student experience immensely," he said.
Robertson also supported student accommodation being built outside the CBD.
"The point is that we just need more and it cannot come fast enough," he said.
A University of Waikato spokeswoman said the university was continuing to explore student accommodation options in the Bay of Plenty.
THE PROPOSAL INCLUDES:
- A five-level development with a reception/lobby area at ground level and a total of 116
student living units
- A common area on each level, inclusive of a kitchen, which will front Selwyn St
- A basement level, which will provide for a total of 14 on-site parking spaces (inclusive of two accessible spaces), bicycle storage area catering for approximately 54 bicycles and
an E-bike charging zone, laundry, refuse collection, games room and storage
- An outdoor courtyard area along the northern boundary of the site, which will provide for additional on-site bike storage
- A manager's residence in the north-eastern corner of the site at ground level
- A pickup/drop off zone near the northern boundary adjacent to the main entrance to
- All common areas and each individual student living unit will be fully furnished.
- No catering facilities or student meal services will be provided within the facility; with students encouraged to self-cater using the common kitchen facilities provided on each level
Source: Tauranga City Council