Students Find High Rise Living To Their Liking
22 May 2002
Half way through the university year it appears there is still a massive shortage of student accommodation in Auckland.
And with foreign students already injecting hundreds of millions of dollars in to the New Zealand economy, it would be a pity if a lack of accommodation influenced new students to look elsewhere.
Recent world turmoil hasn’t helped as students from overseas seek – and their parents opt for – countries that are regarded as safe and stable.
However, there has been some effort recently to meet the demand for a student accommodation crisis that is particularly heavy in Auckland.
Residential developer Melview Developments completed the 19-level UniLodge building in February in the heart of Auckland’s university precinct on Anzac Avenue.
The soaring, wing-shaped complex opened at the start of the 2002 university year and all of the 156 apartments in the building are leased.
The building provides self-contained studio, one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and can accommodate up to 252 residents at any one time.
And while the majority of residents at UniLodge are foreign or from out of town, it seems the days are gone when a struggling student had to work in a dank, dark flat with a close-up view of a brick wall.
UniLodge is deliberately designed as more like a home away from home.
Its Auckland manager Paul Hesseling says the brand new, modern units have panoramic views of Auckland the Waitemata Harbour and the city and its parks.
Each is internet-ready, fully furnished and has a kitchen and bathroom. Some have cooking facilities and there is a big common kitchen, a lounge and laundry facilities.
Security and a reception area are located on site and residents have the use of a swimming pool and barbecue area.
The home away from home image is one that is fostered by UniLodge. The Australian-based company has been providing student accommodation since and administers over 2,000 beds across the Tasman and here in New Zealand.
An integral part of the process is to provide students with supportive, community-oriented accommodation especially for those experiencing their first time away from home, Mr Hesseling says.
As you’d expect, UniLodge apartments are very much in demand.
The Auckland City Harbour News reported on March 6 that AUT's two student hostels are full and Auckland University's three halls of residences have no vacancies.
Private rental accommodation is also at a premium.
“There’s a huge demand for this type of accommodation especially with the current shortages in Auckland and skyrocketing rents – some landlords are reported to be even auctioning accommodation leases,” Mr Hesseling says.
“Many parents feel the community atmosphere of a place like UniLodge helps their sons and daughters to settle in to study – it can sometimes be a daunting experience for youngsters.
“It’s also the case that Asian students are used to living in high rise buildings and they enjoy the community atmosphere where they can socialise with other students and people from their own countries.
Rates at Unilodge range from $195 a week for a standard studio to $652 for a four bedroom apartment. Occupancy fees are calculated monthly and terms are a minimum six months. Rates include the fully furnished apartment and hot water charges.
Melview Development’s Nigel McKenna specialises in residential projects and it was he who identified back in 1999 the then coming shortage of student accommodation in Auckland.
McKenna approached UniLodge Australia with the concept for a student apartment complex in the city. Melview developed the building and was responsible for selling the apartments to a wide variety of investors.
UniLodge sales agent Blair Watson of Kellands Real Estate says less than 10 per cent of the apartments remain available.
“We have marketed them both domestically and in Asia and the demand has been excellent,” Mr Watson maintains.
“One local investor has bought nine apartments. They’re a great addition to the Auckland accommodation market and are obviously very attractive to investors.”
Issued on behalf of Melview
Developments by Pead