New homes for 137 students
There is a severe shortage of student accommodation in both Sweden and Norway. For students in Stockholm, it takes an average of two years to get a single room and five years to get a flat. And the situation is not going to improve in the foreseeable future – many years of building will be needed to bring an end to the accommodation queues. But the ambition is there, and many projects are under way. Between May and September 2015, tenants moved into 137 new student flats at Tallkrogen in the south of Stockholm.
Tallkrogen is an older residential area with scope for densification, and the property company Abacus, which is part of the Järntorget Group, decided to build student accommodation there. To keep costs down without compromising on quality and standards, Abacus opted for prefabricated flats supplied by Moelven Byggmodul AB. The result is attractive, space-efficient flats at prices that won’t drain student finances.
The seven blocks have been built in the centre of Tallkrogen, next to the underground station. This means that tenants have both easy access to local amenities such as shops and restaurants and just a short journey time by underground to the university and central Stockholm.
‘This is a quality product at an extremely competitive price, thanks to good cooperation between us and the developer, Abacus,’ says David Öberg, sales manager at Moelven Byggmodul AB.
He considers that these student flats stand out in a positive way, a view shared by many and one of the reasons why the project was a finalist in “Building of the Year 2016”. In competition with 19 other construction projects – buildings, roads, bridges and car parks – the student accommodation in Tallkrogen came a creditable second. “Building of the Year” is the most important competition for the Swedish building sector, rewarding the best new structures in terms of quality, financial aspects, design and cooperation.
‘Reaching the final was great, and coming second among so many exciting projects was unbelievably great,’ says David Öberg, and points out that the architects have created a well-thought-out and appealing design with carefully considered details.
Philip Wikberg, Abacus’s project manager for the student accommodation in Tallkrogen, agrees: ‘The competition was tough,’ he says. He was part of the project right from when the application for planning permission for Tallkrogen was submitted to the municipality, and subsequently held the reins of the project.
The developer is pleased with the end result: seven four-storey blocks comprising a total of 137 flats, a mixture of one-room flats of 26 m2 and two-room flats of 37 m2.
‘They are fine buildings of a high standard,’ Philip Wikberg concludes.
Blend into the surroundings
All the flats have a fully fitted kitchen. The kitchen and living area have laminate flooring, while the bathroom has linoleum. All the flats also have French windows. Each flat has a loft storage area, and there is a communal laundry room in three of the buildings.
The seven buildings have rendered facades in shades that blend in with the other buildings in the area. The walls around the entrance doors are faced with oiled oak, and the flats have brightly coloured letterboxes.
‘We’ve previously built student accommodation at Telefonplan in Stockholm and we have several other projects in progress. Our ambition is for Abacus to be the largest private manager of student accommodation in Stockholm. The challenge is finding suitable sites, as we have to build on municipal leasehold sites, which are in great demand. But we’re getting there! We’re in the process of planning a further 450 flats and have several land allocations in progress,’ says Josa Lundbäck, CEO of Abacus.
‘There is a significant need for student accommodation and there was a lot of interest in the 137 flats we built in Tallkrogen, with more than 1000 students queueing up to get one,’ he says.
Abacus is focused on the Greater Stockholm region and currently has no plans to build in other student towns, although Uppsala is a possible exception.
‘The Group has recently opened an office in Uppsala, so projects there may become relevant in time,’ says CEO Josa Lundbäck.
Like Philip Wikberg and David Öberg, he is pleased with the attention the project in Tallkrogen attracted as a result of its high ranking in “Building of the Year”.
‘This is a well-considered project in terms of scale, number of residential units and colour choice, but in other respects it’s extremely simple and unpretentious.
‘We’ve previously built high-standard, good-quality flats with Moelven Byggmodul AB as supplier, and these student flats demonstrate the same high level of quality, albeit with a slightly simpler finish. Thanks to the goodwill of Abacus’s shareholders, we offer some of the most reasonable student accommodation on the market in Stockholm,’ says Josa.
The standard monthly rent in Stockholm for 26 m2 is SEK 5600 but the students living at Tallkrogen pay SEK 4850, and also get a 50% discount in July and December.