Greek student housing PPP developments on hold due to market conditions
Notorious bureaucratic hurdles and the lack of related expertise in Greek universities delay progress.
PPP projects for the construction of student residences in major Greek universities are being used as a solution to the major issue of student housing in the country. However, according to construction industry executives talking to eRED, student residence development projects in Thrace, Thessaly, Crete and West Macedonia, with a budget exceeding €500 million, are making slow progress.
Bureaucracy, a notorious impediment int the construction industry, along with lack of expertise from Greek universities' officials in real estate development of such range and, on the other hand, economic factors, such as the rapid increase in raw materials prices, energy costs, etc. have resulted in changing investors' priorities, leading to construction tenders lagging behind.
.The Intrakat group is currently engaged in two large PPP projects in the field of student housing. Specifically, after the relevant tenders, the firm undertook the study, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the Student Residences of the University of Crete. The project, which will be carried out in the form of a Public-Private Partnership, has a budget of €195.6 million and is the first project of its kind, with the market trusting that it will attract other national university entities to similar projects. The University of Crete is planning the construction of new building complexes in its two Campuses of Rethymno and Heraklion. Specifically, 2,000 student residences will be built at the Gallou Campus and 1,000 residences at Heraklion. The construction study of the amphitheater in Gallou, which will be used as a conference center as well, is also included.
At the same time, the listed company was declared temporary contractor for the construction of student residences, as well as educational and research facilities, at the University of Thessaly. This large complex of building projects, which has secured funding from the Invest EU Fund, has a dual construction purpose.
The first one relates to the integrated intervention of the urban regeneration and utilization of the industrial property of the cotton industry in Nea Ionia Volos, for the creation of student residences, educational and research facilities, and social infrastructure of the University of Thessaly.
The second will be developed in Lamia and pertains to the creation of student residences, as well as educational and research infrastructures for the University of Thessaly. The value of the project was estimated at €116.62 million (VAT inclusive). According to the study that has been prepared, from the total of 88,068 sq.m. of the Vamvakourgia plot, the buildings will cover 32,000 sq.m. (almost 36%). The remaining 56,000 sq.m. will be common areas and green spaces.
The project envisages the construction of a complex that will include, among other things, university facilities, Vocational Training Schools of the Public Employment Service, a Special Needs School, Research Laboratories and new Research Institutes, Incubators and Co-Working Spaces, Student Dorms, a Student Club, a Cultural Center, Sports Facilities, Local and Urban Scale Services, Shared Spaces and Green Spaces.
Tenders in the second stage
The tender for the development of student residence at the Democritus University of Thrace is currently through its second stage. The project has a budget of €133.05 million (VAT Inclusive) and includes: student residences, university residences, a new central library, a research center and various other buildings. This is the next phase of binding bidding.
Let it be noted that the scope of the new PPP project specifically includes the following by city:
Alexandroupolis: 4 student residence buildings (12,194.34 sq.m. for 350 people), a student catering area (3.776.75 sq.m. for 1500 people) and university residences (12 spaces for at least 4 people, 1.440.00 sq.m. m.).
Komotini: 2 student residence buildings (9,667.36 m2 indoor area and 3,551.8 m2 outdoor areas for 350 people), a student catering area (6,000 m2 for 2,500 students), a guest house ( 660 sq.m. for 28 people), university residences (24 residences with sections of 4 accommodations, 2,880 sq.m.). The construction of a new Central Library/Reading Room – Multi-functional Event Facility (1 central building that will house the library, reading room and various event spaces, 6,000 sq.m., 17,000 sq.m. total space area) is also included.
Xanthi: Research Center of Excellence (1 central building with laboratories and research centers 10,000 sq.m., and 5,000 sq.m. outdoor spaces).
In the meantime, the tender for the University of Western Macedonia is also expected. The PPP contract includes the financing, construction, operation, technical management and security-cleaning services of the building facilities in the 4 cities of Kozani, Florina, Kastoria and Ptolemaida.
Independent development schemes
The market's potential has been strong enough to attract private investors' interest in similar projects, In particular, Greek REICs and the Public Benefit Foundation Alexander S. Onassis have recently prepared the final studies and application studies for the refurbishment of the NTUA Student Housing in Zografou. The complete renovation of the Zografou Student Residences, with a budget of €40,000,000.00, has been included in the list of PPP projects by decision of the Interministerial Committee.
Premia Properties, that has an established presence in the markets of Athens, Xanthi, Thessaloniki and Patras, is a key player in the area of alternative investments and specifically student housing in the Greek market.
At the beginning of the year, the REIT company completed the acquisition of a self-contained property in Xanthi with a total area of 5,253 sq.m, which will function as a student residence, for a price of €2.1 million. A property that operates as a student residence is also being exploited in Thessaloniki, after signing a relevant agreement with Valor Properties.
Finally, the company owns student residences in Athens and Patras, after purchasing the respective properties in 2022.