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University of Huddersfield – £260 million worth of ambition

Property investment tips in Huddersfield
Jun 13, 2017

One of the key criteria we look for when handpicking our student property locations is an ambitious on-campus investment programme from the local university.

Better facilities attract higher student numbers which lead to stronger long-term demand for our investors’ properties. Huddersfield certainly doesn’t disappoint…

15-year programme of major investment

Investment underpinning student population growth

Colin Blair, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Huddersfield, was understandably upbeat as May 2017 saw the start of a new phase of campus redevelopment.

He described the £6.7 million project to upgrade the Joseph Priestley Building for the university’s School of Applied Sciences as “the latest ambitious refurbishment of the existing campus fabric, which underpins an exciting academic strategy.”

A truly local landmark

High local demand for student accommodation

The undertaking comes hard on the heels of the opening in April 2017 of the Oastler Building – the new £27.5 million home shared by Huddersfield’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media. It’s a striking edifice with a curved facade; the 3.5m cantilever across its six storeys is a spectacular feature.

State of the art building information modelling (BIM) was key to the entire design and build process.

The development includes four 300-seater lecture theatres, language laboratories and a replica law court; it has also incorporated a range of eco-features including a ‘living roof’ which has earned it a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of Excellent.

In fact, 100% of the Oastler’s raw materials and service suppliers were sourced from within a 30-mile radius of the site – very much in keeping with the ethos of “a university that is at the heart of its home town”, as identified by the Times Higher Education judges when declaring Huddersfield its University of the Year 2013.

Centre of Excellence

Town with student housing shortage

January 2015 saw the official opening of the university’s £22.5 million Student Central by the Princess Royal – although the building had been finished ahead of schedule in early 2014.

A dedicated space where students can study, socialise, eat and relax, the development has a multi-function, 8-court sports hall which can seat 800 people. There is also a selection of food and drink outlets, along with a fully-equipped 80-space gym and fitness suite, dance studio and squash courts. The university’s Students’ Union is at the very hub of the new building.

Her Royal Highness observed – “It’s a really good example of what can be achieved by understanding students and the way you need to work together as a team.

“It is building on strengths with what was here in Huddersfield before and, hopefully, it will take you a long way.”

New £3m 3M BIC Building

Town without enough student accommodation

Earlier in 2013, the university opened its £3 million wholly-owned subsidiary, the award-winning 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (more commonly known as 3M BIC).

Named after Huddersfield alumnus and CEO of the multinational 3M corporation, George Buckley, the centre provides offices, hot desks, meeting rooms, workshops and advanced technology laboratories.

It encourages business to academia collaborations and aims to facilitate business growth and promote innovation.

Recycled school that means business

Town with growing student population

The University of Huddersfield’s commitment to the world of commerce, entrepreneurship and environmental responsibility was further demonstrated in 2011 by the creation of the new Business School at a cost of £17 million.

It involved the demolition of a two-storey unlisted 19th century mill and its replacement with a four-storey, 4,000 m2 structure linked by a curved block to the existing faculty. Ingeniously, 90% of the demolished mill was reused in the new building, principally stone and timbers.

International star Sir Patrick Stewart, former chancellor of the university, was suitably impressed at the opening ceremony.

He told staff and students: “We really mean business here at the University of Huddersfield and this splendid new building makes the point.

“In the short time that it has been up and running, the new Business School has already proved its worth.

“And of course the Business School was a substantial investment for the university – a £17m investment not only in real estate but in the future of the students, from Britain and overseas, who will pass through these doors.”

“It is the latest in a sequence of stunningly well-designed and built additions to the university campus,” he said.

“I cannot believe that any town-based university in the country has such an attractive campus as we do, with its inspirational mixture of the new and the old with a ribbon of waterway running through it.”

A sensitive balance

Up and coming student property investment hotspot

A consistent theme throughout Huddersfield’s recent campus development programme has been a careful consideration of the relationship between the town and the university, between the present and the past.

“In recent years our campus transformation programme has concentrated on new structures, such as the Oastler Building. We have some major new-build projects in the pipeline as part of a £260m programme of investment over the next 15 years.

But we have also had great success with refashioning existing structures, such as the award-winning canalside buildings. The Joseph Priestley overhaul is an important part of this strand and by the time it is completed we will effectively have an exciting new building on the campus, without losing the integrity of the existing structure.”

– Colin Blair, Director of Estates, University of Huddersfield

The University of Huddersfield owns eight listed buildings, among the most outside Oxford and Cambridge. The town centre itself contains 460; this means the civic and university authorities have to tread carefully together to maintain and enhance historic assets through a policy of optimum viable use, whilst ensuring new builds are compatible with their surroundings.

More investment to come

The intention over the coming years is to expand further into the Western campus to provide an extra 35,000m2. This in turn will allow space in existing campus buildings to be released for interior refurbishment and expansion.

The university is a significant and valued part of the Huddersfield community, contributing as it does £300 million to the local economy. Its growth, along with its commitment to local sourcing of materials and manpower, means the next ten years or so look like exciting times for the town – academically, architecturally and economically.

Introducing Primrose Hill Student Residence

Property investment tips in Huddersfield

This property has been fully occupied since being converted into student accommodation in 2012. Its location a nine minute walk from the university campus has helped make it popular with Huddersfield’s large student population, and means it will be able to capitalise on high demand for accommodation as the local student population continues to grow.

Investment highlights

  • All income predetermined, contracted and fixed for 10 years
  • 8% NET (years 1-2), 9% NET (years 3-4), 10% NET (years 5-10)
  • Immediate income from exchange of contracts
  • Fully managed by sector specialists
  • Zero costs during fixed income period
  • 51 recently renovated student en-suites
  • Available from £45,950
  • Discover more about this property investment


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