University Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black

The University of Tasmania has purchased the Midcity Hotel in central Hobart to provide additional student accommodation in the south.

Refurbishment planning is underway to ensure it can house 140 students in time for Semester 2 this year, which commences with Orientation Week on 9 July.

University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the project would have a significant impact on meeting demand for student housing.

“We are very aware of the tightening housing market in Hobart and the impact this is having on individuals, families and the broader community,” Professor Black said.

“That’s why we’ve been working on innovative projects that we can act on quickly to address these pressures in the immediate term while continuing to develop further student housing options in the medium term.”

The University has significantly increased the number of student beds it provides over the past several years as student numbers have grown, and more accommodation is planned.

While the refurbishment of the Midcity Hotel, on the corner of Elizabeth and Bathurst Streets, will deliver 140 beds, further works will lift that number to more than 170 by the start of Semester 1, 2019.

It follows the March announcement that it had secured private investment funding to underwrite a new student complex of about 430 beds, worth more than $70 million, at 40 Melville Street.

Work on this project is progressing and is expected to be completed in 2020.

The combined capacity of all three new student accommodation developments in the Hobart CBD is approximately 1,040 beds.

“Tasmania is enjoying a period of remarkable growth,” Professor Black said. “That growth brings benefits, from the economic to the cultural, but also challenges – challenges that with the right ideas and approaches, we can overcome.

“The University will continue to play an important role in helping our city grow and adapt.”