The Madeira Road halls ensure quality accommodation in the heart of the town for 378 students as the new academic year begins. The opening was celebrated with a reception and the cutting of a ribbon by Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.
The blocks rise from four to seven storeys and are prominent features on the skyline alongside the Wessex Way with the tallest block standing 70ft (21m) high. The project has been delivered by the Bournemouth Development Company (BDC), a public-private partnership between Bournemouth Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.
Professor Stuart Bartholomew CBE, AUB Principal and Vice Chancellor, said: “Our new Madeira Road halls of residence reflect the latest stage in our exciting journey of growth as a university. They enhance the student experience by enabling us, for the first time, to offer much needed, bespoke quality accommodation in the town centre.”
The residences comprise 61 separate flats for small groups of students plus four studio apartments.
On the site of a former surface car park, the residences are part of a long-term programme of Council regeneration, the Town Centre Vision, which BDC is helping to deliver.
Earlier this year, BDC completed a 382-space multi-storey public car park on Madeira Road, just next to the residences. Sixty-four apartments are also being marketed at The Citrus Building, a BDC project at nearby Leyton Mount overlooking Horseshoe Common.
Councillor Nicola Greene, Deputy Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, who spoke at the reception, said: “It was great to be a part of the handover of AUB’s first town centre student apartments today. The completion of these student blocks is a significant regeneration milestone for Bournemouth. We are helping to secure the long-term future of our town by making the best use of our landholdings in a way that stimulates the economy and creates vibrant, sustainable communities.”
Duncan Johnston, BDC Board Director, said: “The education sector is vital to Bournemouth’s success. Encouraging more students to come here by providing attractive, contemporary places to live in will have a knock-on effect in spending which directly benefits the local economy. Like all our other projects, Madeira Road is a prime example of a catalyst for regeneration.”
Building work at Madeira Road was carried out by Morgan Sindall Construction, with trades and labour sourced from the local supply chain as far as possible. Mr Johnston said he “paid tribute to the whole construction team and especially the project site manager Chris Holloway.”
Conor Burns, who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “The widespread reputation of both AUB and Bournemouth University within the creative sector nationally never ceases to amaze and please me. This sector is already an important part of the UK economy and growing by around 20% a year.”