For years the old Belfast Metropolitan College building has lay unused and empty – prompting passers-by to admire the amazing architecture and lament over its non-use.
So we couldn’t be more excited when Fresh Student Living announced they were moving in, rejuvenating the building with a £16m refurbishment and creating exciting new student accommodation in the historic building.
The building, which has previously been known as Belfast Technical High School as well as Belfast Metropolitan College, has been renamed in honour of the award winning physicist who famously corrected Einstein with Bell’s Theorem, and who happened to be a former pupil in the building.
Having already received a great deal of interest from this year’s incoming influx of students, John Bell House invited us along for a sneak preview tour. And after seeing the level of the rooms on offer, we’re ready to move in ourselves…
Never mind student accommodation, this is better than most houses.
1. The Rooms On Offer
These are not like any student flats we’ve seen before…
John Bell House is a great choice of all inclusive studios and en suite shared apartments in a fantastic location.
The refurbishment of this historic landmark includes 413 en suite rooms in shared apartments – ideal for groups of 3-10 students, as well as en suite studios, which are perfect for those looking for a place of their own or to share as a couple. All rooms include a small double bed, storage space, desk and en suite shower room, with the studios also providing a kitchenette area.
The former Grand Hall is being converted into a beautiful social space, one of several communal areas that will be available for regular social events, whilst an oak panelled drawing room will become a quiet study space for students.
2. The Location
John Bell House is also in a great location for students as it is right in city centre of Belfast.We think it would be perfect for BMC students, which is literally seconds from the doorstep. It is also just a 12 minute walk to the University of Ulster city centre campus.
Furthermore, the walk to Queen’s University isn’t much further – at approximately 14 minutes. But of course, for those lazy (or rainy) days, you can always just jump on a bus.
It’s also a short stroll to the city centre of Great Victoria Street Rail Station which offers easy access to the rest of Northern Ireland and Dublin.
We reckon we’d have to exercise a LOT of self-control living in such close proximity to Belfast’s amazing pubs, clubs, restaurants and shops – but hey, what else is that student loan for, eh?
3. The Security
The accommodation will have an on site management team, CCTV and 24-hour-security to give peace of mind to students – and their parents.
Jane Crouch, Director of Operations, Fresh Student Living explained their approach to managing student accommodation:
“The Accommodation Team will be on site at all times, in both a support and a supervisory role. They manage important aspects such as health and safety, maintenance and security.
“But it’s very much about ensuring the students get the best out of their University time.”
John Bell House offers social spaces, including a quiet study area and arranges regular social events. All bills are included within the weekly price, including FREE wifi, insurance cover of up to £2,500, heating and electricity plus loads more. Plus there’s the added bonus of on site laundry.
Check out the prices online, ranging from £120 per week for the Bronze En Suite to £180 for the Platinum Plus Studio.
5. The Experience
This is the perfect solution to having your own space with your mates – without some of the scarier responsibilities that come with having to look after your own home for the first time. Jane explains:
“We’re like a halfway house for the students. We’re not home and we’re not their parents but we’re also not like some landlords who never look at their property from one year to the next.”
The fact that your wifi (and all the other vital necessities) are factored into your rent means you don’t have a headache trying to pay off seven different bills but instead have one easy lump sum.
It’s also exciting that Belfast’s city centre is going to be literally right on your doorstep. With some of our favourite pubs just a minutes walk away and Belfast’s serious revitalisation in the food & drink department, it will be amazing to be in the heart of where it’s all happening.
Ian Scott, Fund Manager at Curlew commented; “As well as providing a friendly, safe and comfortable environment for students in the heart of Belfast, the development brings an important building back to life and we are confident it will have a positive effect on the local economy and urban landscape”.
Refurbishment has been ongoing for a year by construction firm O’Hare & McGovern, with its first residents expected on September 19.