A new student accommodation facility in Darling Square has been approved by the Department of Planning and Environment. Being built as part of the Darling Harbour renewal in a location highly accessible for students with proximity to universities, public transport and services, the 22-storey Urbanest building will house up to 668 students in 520 rooms. The fully catered student accommodation facility will also feature large communal spaces, a central courtyard and bicycle parking.

According to a Department spokesperson, the application was publicly exhibited between November and December 2015 with seven submissions received from Government agencies and none from the public. The size of student rooms, design quality, bicycle parking, security, and use of the central courtyard and rooftop area were some of the key issues raised during consultation. All these issues have been addressed by the Department in its assessment.

The Department also found that the proposed new accommodation building was of a high design standard with acceptable room sizes, privacy, and facilities including bicycle parking for future students.

The Department has approved plans for the construction of the new 22-storey Urbanest building and addressed issues raised during consultation with the following conditions:

  • south-facing windows must be treated to prevent overlooking into other apartments and increase privacy;
  • a Crime Prevention Assessment must be provided to ensure safety for students in the proposed central courtyard;
  • the applicant must provide an updated wind assessment to address wind concerns in the central courtyard.

The new student accommodation will be built next to an already approved 20-storey Urbanest building at Darling Square, which had applied for the addition of a communal rooftop terrace, a movie screen and a pedestrian bridge linking the two accommodation buildings.

The Department has approved the modification request with the condition that the new communal rooftop area is accessible to all students.

Image: The 22-storey Urbanest building will house up to 668 students in 520 rooms