YORK St John University has secured a £35 million loan enabling it to purchase a new 258-bedroomed accommodation block in Hungate.

St John Central opened to students in September this year following a £14.7 million development by S Harrison to build the new accommodation in Carmelite Street.

Now the university has completed a refinancing deal with Barclays, securing facilities of £35 million, including £22 million of new debt.

The ten-year finance deal supports the university’s expansion and development strategy, which included the purchase of St John Central as additional accommodation following a 67 per cent rise in student applications over the last five years.

David Chesser, chief operating officer at York St John, said: “It is exciting times for the university.

“Recognition of the quality of our teaching is delivering growth. This, in turn, positions us for investment so that other aspects of the student experience we offer are of an equally high standard.

“Taking ownership of the St John Central accommodation within the city walls not only means that students are able to benefit from brand new, high-quality accommodation, but it also gives us greater control over this important element of our infrastructure.”

York-based Langleys Solicitors property and construction teams were involved in providing professional services advice to the university on the purchase of the multi-million pound facility.

Langleys partner Tim Cross said: “We’re very pleased to have been involved in York St John’s ambition to acquire St John Central and thereby provide such high standard accommodation to its ever growing student population.”

Explaining the university’s growth plans, Chris Watts, marketing director at York St John, said “We have expanded quite a lot over the last year.

“We now have more students than we have ever had at 7,300, and we have a target for further growth.

“Most of that will be expansion on campus, and we are looking at a few areas of expanding the curriculum too.”

Growing demand for accommodation

York St John University’s growing accommodation:

• In September 2008, students from York St John moved into the new £9.5 million, 272-bedroomed accommodation block built by S Harrison on the old Pullman site in Percy’s Lane.

• In August 2009, the university completed a £25 million deal for the lease of the new 232-bedroom student block Gray’s Wharf, in Navigation Road. Developed by S Harrison Developments, the building is leased to York St John for 25 years. The building was ready for occupation in September 2010.

• In September this year the first students moved in to the 250-bedroomed St John Central site after a £14.7 million development by S Harrison Future developments

• The university is looking to buy St Anthony’s House, in Clarence Street, from City of York Council for teaching space as part of its expansion plans, as the site is opposite its main campus. The sale was approved by the authority’s cabinet at the start of October

• Developers have this month revealed plans to build 326 student flats next to a York supermarket. The proposals for a site in Hallfield Road, which was previously a Yorkshire Water depot, have been submitted to City of York Council by Maple Grove Developments.

• If approved, two four-storey accommodation blocks would be built next to the Morrisons store at Foss Islands Retail Park, and will be made available to York St John and University of York.