Plans for 200 student beds and cinema in Cork city lodged

An artists impression of the proposed student apartment complex at San Paula, Orchard Road.

Plans for 30 student apartments and a cinema, encompassing more than 200 beds and 120 bike parking spots, have been lodged as part of a fast-track housing development for Orchard Road in Cork.Denis O’Brien Developments (Cork) Ltd has applied for a five-year planning permission for the student accommodation development at San Paula, Orchard Road, located between Victoria Cross and College Road.

Orchard Road has a number of homes valued over the €1 million mark, and the San Paula site was acquired from its private owner in late 2017 for €1.9 million.

The plan is lodged under the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) application process, which is designed to fast-track the planning process by bypassing local authorities and going straight to the State's planning authority, An Bord Pleanála.

It proposes the construction of a one to five-storey development including 30 student apartments in three blocks with a total of 216 bed spaces.

The development would be made up of one four-bed apartment, 10 six-bed apartments and 19 eight-bed apartments, the applicants said.

It would also include a study/meeting room, lounge, cinema, a reception area, management offices and storage.

A total of 120 bicycle parking spaces and four car parking spaces are also part of the plans.

Other works including landscaped areas, vehicular and pedestrian access, footpath upgrades at Orchard Road, site infrastructure, and the provision of PV panels at roof level form part of the plans, the developer said.

In its application to An Bord Pleanála, the developer says the scheme will be managed by ScholarLee, which it calls a well-established operator of guest accommodation in the student and tourist sector in Cork city.

Properties under management include ScholarLee Bishop Street, ScholarLee Magazine Road and ScholarLee Washington Street.

The specialist student accommodation company, which is strongly associated with Denis O’Brien Developments, is headed by second-generation developer Denise O’Brien and her husband Shane Keogh.

The proposed site was specifically identified due to its convenient location and proximity to the main campus of UCC, as well as its convenient location to other departments such as Tyndall, and other third level institutions such as the Crawford College of Art and Design and Cork Institute of Technology.

The site is located 600 metres from the main UCC campus.

A two-storey detached house which currently occupies the centre of the site is not a protected structure and it is not listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, the developer said.

There are currently around 2,500 dedicated student beds under construction in the UCC campus vicinity, and estimates say the market will need over 5,000 by 2024.