Student residence is open – but already full

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A NEW student block has been opened in the heart of the city – and has been met by unprecedented demand.

Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, was officially opened last night by developers Global Student Accommodation (GSA), and all rooms have already been rented out for the year.

The opening of Catherine House student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth. From left: 'Tim Mitchell, Head of Real Estate, Lydia Mensforth - Design Manager of GSA, Dominic Trainor, Contract Director, Maria Rogers, General Manager of GSA and finance director  Eamon Higgins

The opening of Catherine House student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth. From left: 'Tim Mitchell, Head of Real Estate, Lydia Mensforth - Design Manager of GSA, Dominic Trainor, Contract Director, Maria Rogers, General Manager of GSA and finance director Eamon Higgins

The building is actually two separate structures, with the old Zurich building being extended further down the road.

Catherine House has studio flats, one-bedroom flats and shared halls throughout the block – with each room having en en-suite bathroom.

GSA’s head of real estate Tim Mitchell says that the building was constructed because the company knew that the demand would be there.

He said: ‘This building is going to be where students live – potentially for the next three years – so everything had to be up to the mark.

‘We needed it to feel homely, but also be robust to last for at least the next 25 years or more.

‘Because of the facilities that we have and the fact that we’re in a prime location in the city centre, we knew that demand would be high.

‘The University of Portsmouth is a university we have been working very closely with, so we also knew precisely what they wanted.

‘That being said, we didn’t expect the entire building to go quite as fast as it did.’

Mr Mitchell says that it is important for residents in the city to keep an open mind about students.

He said: ‘We don’t just treat them as customers – we treat them as people.

‘These teenagers are coming into a brand new city with no knowledge of their surroundings – why not make them feel at home?

‘With a block like this, we believe we could end up freeing up some of the terraced housing in the city.

‘The whole residential industry is under pressure at the moment, so I think we could really make a difference to the city, even for those who aren’t students,;

The new residents will be moving into the block from September 15 onwards.