EPG’s Latest Project: The largest single phase student development accommodation in SA
The team at Eris Property Group has two staggering builds currently underway that will have a positive impact on student accommodation in the country – a property sector that is in dire need of help. The first is Units on Jorissen Street in Braamfontein that holds 998 beds – the intake target is January 2024 – and Cape Town Station, with upwards of 3 000 beds. The latter is the largest single phase student development accommodation in South Africa.
The reason for these impressive builds is simple. “During Level 5 lockdown last year, although there were no face-to-face classes, our current student accommodation, Units on Park in Pretoria, was well occupied with 60% of students deciding to come back to their student accommodation,” says Johan Janse van Vuuren, Executive Head of Student Accommodation at Eris. “It made an enormous difference to students, as they knew that they would be in a safe environment, with constant access to Wi-Fi and electricity, so that they could continue uninterrupted with their studies – which would not necessarily have been the case if they had stayed at home,” he adds.
Interestingly, although the principle of every student accommodation build by Eris is the same – affordable student accommodation, run by an impressive tech-driven property management system, which follows green design principles – the priorities for students differ between cities. “In Johannesburg, students want their own lockable room, but are willing to share amenities and live in clusters. In Jorrisen Street, the majority of the apartments are 6- 8- and 9-bedroom clusters with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. In Cape Town, however, students are looking for 3- and 4- bedroom clusters and studio units,” says Thalita Ramusi, Development Manager at Eris. However, all of the amenities at student accommodation properties are standardised.
Amenities at every Eris student accommodation includes:
- Study area/ Meeting rooms
- Computer Labs
- Study tables, Chairs and Whiteboard
- Lounge/ TV room
- Games Room
- Green Breakaway Areas
- TV and Furniture
- Braai Areas
- Washing Machines
- Tumble Dryers
No matter which city students live in, the student accommodation rates are extremely affordable. Around 75% of the rentals in the Eris student accommodation portfolio are within the specified price range, which is set out by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), with the aim to have all-inclusive rentals that have no additional costs for electricity, water, Wi-Fi and laundry.
Best of all, from start to finish, the entire process is streamlined, before students even enter the building,” says Nape Bambo, an Graduate Intern at Eris. Students simply log onto the website and if they like what they see, they can choose to see the accommodation in person or apply immediately. When they apply online, they simply fill out all the info and explain which room they want. Upon approval, they pay a small admin fee, and the room is ready for them. “The entire process takes less than 45 minutes,” he says.
Johan adds: “We had to adapt the Eris system to speak to students in their own language, so that everything was online.” Besides the student signing up, the entire building is managed and monitored electronically. The Eris team can tell at the click of a button if there is excess usage of WI-FI, electricity or water. “We have integrated this into the Eris property management system, so every Eris student accommodation building is much more technologically advanced than traditional buildings. Our online management system is the most comprehensive online property management system in the country,” he says.
Another strict non-negotiable for student accommodation for the Eris team is adopting and adhering to green principles and designs. There is a minimum green requirement – an EDGE Certification – that is needed for all of our student accommodation. “The UCT Student Residence ― Avenue Road in Cape Town ― a year ago was the first 4-star green rated certified building in student accommodation in the country, which has really set the bar high for future developments. The Eris team was integral in setting up the criteria for future green developments with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA),” explains Johan.
All Eris student accommodation uses these green principles:
- Motion light sensors in all the common areas
- LED lightbulbs to save power
- Power efficient heat pumps
- Solar and gas is always considered as a first option
- Dual flush mechanisms on the toilets to save water
- Water storage tanks are optimally set
- Grey water harvesting (if the building allows for it)
- Breeze blocks on the balconies require no mechanical ventilation
- Specialised ACC blocks (a mix of Styrofoam and cement blocks) help to lighten the overall structure and make it more environmentally friendly (and sound proof)
Fortunately, regardless of the area, students from any tertiary institution in the specific areas can apply to stay at Eris’s student accommodation. There is also the option for universities to take out a head lease and have a certain block or section of the development allocated to students from that specific university.
Eris’s current development, Units on Park, is currently accepting student applications for 2022 and Units on Jorisson Street and Cape Town Station will be ready for applications in 2024.
Visit https://www.eris.co.za/student-accommodation/ https://www.risestudentliving.com/ to apply.
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