Construction and development company Real has started work on the Hollis Building in Bath for developer Alumno Group, a specialist student housing developer. The £12.6 million project will comprise 120 rooms of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) across four storeys, with bespoke commercial space on the ground floor.

The site on Lower Bristol Road is in the suburb of Twerton, situated to the west of Bath city centre. Adjacent to the River Avon, this location lies within Bath Conservation Area, a World Heritage site, a Housing Development Boundary, and an Enterprise Area. Rackfield Place to the east of the site is a Grade II Listed Terrace of rubble Bath stone construction and opposite the Hollis Building to the south is Twerton Viaduct, also Grade II Listed. As the project is situated on the river and the railway line, Real will be working within an Environmental Permit and a Network Rail Basic Asset Protection Agreement (Bapa).

The building is designed by leading Bristol practice AWW Architects and features 5, 7 and 10 bed cluster flats and studios. There will be a laundry room on the first floor and three accessible studio flats as well as ample communal spaces for the students to socialise in, including a common room on the first floor facing the river and an external roof terrace on the fourth floor.

In terms of consideration for the environment, there will be photovoltaics (PV) on the roof with electric heating plus a living wall on the north elevation, green roofs, bird and bat boxes and new planting on Lower Bristol Road. The site is just a half hour walk, ten minutes by bus or a ten-minute cycle to the centre of the city as well as a five-minute walk to Bath Spa University campus. This convenient location therefore encourages a sustainable, car-free lifestyle and provides ease for students.

These measures align with the Real’s sustainability commitments in terms of carbon reduction and biodiversity, as part of its Sustainability Framework. One of the Framework’s other central themes is community resilience and Real will look to support the local economy in terms of employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

The Hollis Building is due to complete in August 2024.

The Hollis Building is Real’s second student accommodation project in Bath, having completed work on the nearby 144 bed North Parade accommodation building in September 2022.

David Campbell, Founder & Managing Director of Alumno, commented: “We are delighted to be commencing work with Real on this exciting project in Bath, a city that we have had long held ambitions to work in. We are sure that by working in close partnership with Real, the Hollis building will offer students studying in Bath a first-class housing option at a time of great demand and need.”

Alan Hope, Regional Director for Real in the South West added: “The Hollis Building is an exciting project, in a prime location and with an excellent design, and we are delighted to have started the project and to be working with the Alumno team. Our project team have a proven track record of success having delivered a student accommodation project just 15 minutes from the Hollis Building, and I look forward to watching them take on the challenge of this new and exciting scheme.”