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Student Accommodation

Creating a sense of place

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Here, in the first of a series of articles, we talk the partner organisations and businesses that make Portergate’s Riverside House such a great and continuing success story

Ian Tidd, director of Salford-based letting agents The Property Place, is well used to receiving praise from parents whose youngsters are enjoying the lifestyle and vibe created at Riverside House.

The praise comes as no surprise to him. He says it is a testament to Riverside’s fantastic facilities, its high levels of security and the friendly and professional approach of all the staff.

The Property Place has worked with the Riverside team from day one, building up a strong working relationship over the years.

Ian says: “There are massive positives when it comes to selling Riverside House to students and parents, from the quality

Ian and Christina from The Property Place

of its bedrooms to the fantastic, friendly people who work there. They are just really nice people.

“The 24 hour security that Riverside offers is also a big positive, particularly with parents. We get positive comments and feedback about this from parents all the time, which is great and shows the Riverside team is doing something right.

“It’s a really competitive market out there and you’ve got to be better than everyone else. It’s common for students to spend just their first year in halls before moving out to house-shares.

“However, at Riverside we have students who are spending two or three years there, they don’t want to move, they enjoy it so much. And that’s another sign that the team is getting things right.”

Ian adds: “A lot of the success we have had with Portergate is down to professional relationships. We consider the team at Riverside House to be one of the best to deal with; they are more like friends to us.”

Founded more than seven years ago The Property Place is built on the key foundation to ‘exceed client’s expectations through professionalism, innovation, and personal service’.

Ian says: “A sign of the success we have at The Property Place is the fact that a large proportion of our business is from satisfied clients who have referred our services to family and friends.

“Our aim is to provide our clients with a “calmer” and more personal experience in order to make their move run as smoothly and professionally as possible.”

The Property Place is also proud sponsor of the world-famous Battersea Dogs Home.

New faces at Riverside House strengthen our team

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A number of new faces have arrived at Riverside House as we continue to strengthen our highly motivated team and prepare for the opening of our ‘sister’ operation in Preston.

Steve Dyson

Elaine Mason is Riverside’s new accommodation manager and Steven Dyson is in charge of maintenance at the Salford development.

Both will also carry out the same role at Portergate’s new £18 million Friargate Court development in Preston’s University Quarter, which will open later this year.

Elaine, from Lytham, brings with her a wealth of experience in the hotel and education sectors, including life as housemistress at a boarding school for girls. She has also worked for hotel groups across the UK.


Elaine Mason

Steven, from south Manchester, is experienced in a whole host of trades – from electrics and plumbing to joinery – which are ideal in fulfilling the role of ensuring

Lorraine Arrigonie

both developments are properly looked after.

Lorraine Arrigonie is another new arrival to Salford. She joins the Riverside House team as accommodation supervisor and concierge.

A former health and social care student at Manchester Metropolitan University, Lorraine, from Droylsden, has a wealth of experience in the accommodation sector.

Hannah Southworth is our chairman Anthony Jackson’s new PA and another important part of the backroom operation that ensures the smooth day-to-day running of


Hannah Southworth

Portergate Property Management and Riverside.

Her administration tasks include operating the office’s diary management system, arranging meetings and ensuring that paperwork is up to date and in order.

Hannah, who is originally from the Preston area, has worked as a PA in the offices of major North West legal practices and recruitment companies and has qualifications in business administration.

Fun times at Riverside

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Happy students at Riverside House joined in the fun as our staff organised a series of events throughout the year to make them feel at home.

To celebrate Chinese New Year the team decked out our front foyer with Chinese lanterns, waving ‘good luck’ cats and posters.

Everyone got a Valentine’s Day treat with sweets and chocolate favours handed out to residents in the reception area.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day residents had the best view in the house to enjoy the big Sunday parade as it made its way12923108_1700675730171271_138812389666992195_n past Riverside.

Easter also proved to be a cracking affair. Sweet-toothed residents had an ‘egg-citing’ time thanks to Portergate’s departing accommodation supervisor Hannah Gronan.

In one of her last roles at the company before moving on to pastures new, Hannah arranged an Easter egg hunt with a difference for those students who hadn’t gone home for the holiday weekend.

10 Easter bunnies were drawn and hidden around the building. If they were brought back to reception the finder received one of these treats.

It proved a popular holiday pastime – with one eagle-eyed resident bagging five of the eggs!

Elaine Mason, Riverside House manager, said: “Quite a few of the residents who I’ve spoken to said how much they enjoyed the challenge and have said how nice it was for us to think of those who couldn’t go home to their families for Easter.”

New film brings Riverside right before your eyes

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When you live far away from your investment, it’s good to be able to take a closer look.

We asked four student residents at Riverside House to swap college for the camera to star in a new film about their Salford home from home and give you an in depth tour of the building and its facilities.

Shannon Walsh, a 23-year-old independent filmmaker from Warrington, spent the day at our acclaimed student accommodation on the banks of the Irwell capturing the Riverside vibe.

And she was helped by a cast of happy volunteers who went in front of the camera. They included James Burgess, 26 from Macclesfield, who is studying drama and media at Salford.

He was joined by Jimmy Haran, 20 from Cleveleys, near Blackpool, another business management student at Manchester Met and Ruth Afaiko, 25 from Nigeria, who is studying international business and law at the University of Salford.

Eileen Alupo, 21 from Surrey, a business and tourism management student at Salford, also features on the film, as does Josh Brearley, 19 from Chorley, who is studying business management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The work will be used to promote Riverside and Portergate – particularly to international students and their families – and highlights the quality and levels of service and support students at the hotel-class property receive once they move in.

For students like Ruth, in particular, coming from Africa the film is particularly useful since they can see exactly what Riverside House looks like – something that’s simply not possible from photography, which is usually stylised and taken in show apartments rather than the entire building including entrances and communal areas.

We commissioned Shannon’s company Walsh Films, which creates corporate, live event and short drama films, to shoot to the work. Freelance sound recordist Jack Lynskey, also from Warrington, and Cardiff-based music composer Joseph Roberts also worked on the project.

The film can be seen here on our website.

Security and service are paramount at Riverside House and students benefit from a day time House Manager, 24-hour concierge and on-site maintenance. For personal security, each floor and all rooms are accessed by swipe card.

This latest promotional film is part of Portergate’s successful and ongoing multi-media approach to marketing.

It’s also a commitment to clearly and honestly showing prospective residents exactly what we offer and the high standards we have set.

New £18m housing project aims to counter the brain drain

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Lancashire’s first bespoke accommodation aimed at apprentices, first-time employees and key workers is set to open in Preston in September.

By providing modern, affordable homes for young workers, the development company behind the newly built £18 million residential complex in the city’s University Quarter is looking to help halt the ‘brain drain’ affecting efforts to revitalise the region’s economy.

There is growing concern in Lancashire about the impact of people in their twenties leaving the region for the south east.

New research from consultancy KPMG has revealed the number of 25-34 year olds in Lancashire fell by more than 10 per cent between 1993 and 2013.

And there are fears the exodus of young workers from the North of England will impede efforts to establish the burgeoning Northern Powerhouse economic regeneration project.

Portergate, the North West-based property firm behind Friargate Court, says 63 of its apartments and studios in the new development will cater for the demand for post-college and university housing for young people who are starting their working lives.

Company bosses believe the availability of quality, affordable student-style accommodation could be one of the key factors in helping to keep young people in the area once their studies are completed.

The accommodation is also aimed at apprentices and young workers at the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone, which will form a centre of excellence for high technology manufacturing, generating wealth-creating benefits for the whole county.


It aims to create 6,000 highly skilled jobs, plus a further 5,000 to 7,000 in the local supply chain. Advanced manufacturing and aerospace firms such as BAE Systems also have expanding apprenticeship programmes aimed at attracting talent to the sector.

Friargate Court is an £18 million mixed use development on Friargate, next to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), with key worker accommodation, student apartments and shops and cafes.

It will be managed 24/7 by Portergate Property Management with a daytime accommodation manager, concierge, housekeepers, on-site maintenance and overnight manned security all included in the rental.

Karen Preece, Portergate’s managing director, says: “We have a lot of experience in the student accommodation sector and we know there is a demand for young people to continue their student lifestyle once they start their working lives.

“We hope that by offering this type of accommodation we will help persuade more young people to remain in the area once their studies are over. We also hope apprentices and key workers will be attracted by the lifestyle we can offer them in the heart of the city.

“Many are simply not ready or able to buy a home or move into more traditional property types. They have grown up with shared student accommodation and like it.

“What we offer over and above the norm is secure, well-managed, high spec homes they can live in for as long as they want hassle-free and concentrate on making a success of their working and personal lives.

“It’s a smart way for young people to manage the stresses of modern life and it will be a big success. We believe we are creating an entirely new sector in the UK housing market.”

The complex is being finished over the summer by Preston-based Eric Wright Construction ready for the autumn. Enquiries and bookings are already being taken from young people eager to be the first to live in the most desirable new address in the city.

Portergate’s debut residence, Riverside House in Salford, has provided the blueprint for Friargate Court and it has been a huge success, selling out in only its second year since opening.

Portergate’s accommodation and hands-on management appeals to students, key workers and apprentices looking for a more than basic student or post-graduate living style, as well as their parents who welcome the care and attention offered by the staff.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1713 alignleft" src="×83.jpg" alt="20160712_144554" width="300" height="83" srcset="×83.jpg 300w,×212.jpg 768w, http://studentaccommodation my 1024w,×260.jpg 940w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />Prices at Friargate Court will start from £135 for a fully furnished and well-equipped en suite room in a standard apartment containing between two and five bedrooms, a living area and large kitchen.

Large standard, superior and studio apartments are available to rent now through Portergate’s own website – – or through the joint agents, the Property Place in Manchester and a Preston-based agent.

Karen Preece adds: “We are excited to be taking bookings at Friargate Court; we have been inundated with enquiries from both the UK and from overseas students from all parts of the world.

“Preston is a vibrant, popular city attracting young people from all walks of life and the university next door to Friargate Court has ambitious plans for making its campus even better.

“Friargate Court will be setting a very high standard for its accommodation and that can only be good for Preston and Lancashire and its employers aiming to attract workers.”

Portergate prides itself on the quality and levels of service and support residents at its hotel-class properties receive once they move in and recruitment is underway for the best staff to run the residence.

Karen continued: “The tremendously high standards Portergate sets reflect the demands and expectations of today’s young people, as well as their parents, who expect their sons and daughters to live in well designed, safe accommodation while they make a home away from home.

“Everyone who works at Portergate is very passionate about what we do, with a total commitment to quality and that’s what the new team we will be recruiting at Friargate Court will deliver.”20160712_144501

Paul Walton, director of PWA Planning, a Preston-based town planning and development consultancy, said: “Intermediate housing, which can bridge the gap between student accommodation and more traditional market housing, has a crucial part to play in the economic success of Preston, be this housing intended to provide accommodation for workers in key services, or transitional accommodation for recent graduates or apprentices.

“The latter is something which is key to a city like Preston, where the retention of recent graduates, particularly from UCLan, is crucial to assisting in limiting the movement of talent towards the perceived riches of the South East region and even the bigger cities of the North West.”

Notes To Editors

For more information, interviews and images, please contact Neil Thornton:

  2. +44 (0)7852 334 343


Apprentices the key to economic success

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The announcement that almost £11million of funding will drive forward a significant expansion in training places and apprentices in key sectors of Lancashire’s economy is more good news for the county.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is behind this latest initiative which will support nine projects worth more than £34m across the county.

The LEP says that its aim is to support a network of modern, high quality educational and training facilities that will look to improve skills levels.

Among many projects, the money will help back skill development initiatives at BAE Systems impressive new training centre, which is emerging at its Samlesbury site on the outskirts of Preston.

The LEP says that in aerospace and advanced manufacturing as many as 21,800 extra skilled tradespeople and qualified professionals and managers will be needed by 2022.

Friargate Court, our new £18m development in Preston, will be the first bespoke accommodation aimed at this next generation when it opens its doors later this year.

Our aim is to provide modern, affordable accommodation for young workers as they set off on their path to career success.

We also want to help keep more young people in the area once their studies are completed, halting an exodus of talent that threatens to prevent the county’s economic growth and to provide homes for workers moving into the area.

We believe the accommodation we are creating is ideal for apprentices and young workers at the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone based at BAE System’s two sites in Samlesbury and Warton.

That new zone will form a centre of excellence for high technology manufacturing, generating wealth-creating benefits for the whole county.

It aim is to create 6,000 highly skilled jobs, plus a further 5,000 to 7,000 in the local supply chain. Local advanced manufacturing and aerospace firms such as BAE Systems also have expanding apprenticeship programmes aimed at attracting talent to the sector.

Riverside House stays as good as new when major improvements protect the asset

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More than a dozen significant improvements have been made to Riverside House keeping the student residence as fresh as the day it opened in 2013.

The programme of improvements, replacements and additions carried out by parent company Portergate, and managed by Portergate Property Management (PPM), ensures the 242-room accommodation remains in excellent condition throughout.

PPM’s management policies have evolved since opening the doors of Riverside House to students for the first time in September 2013 to ensure the en suite rooms and all the communal areas are in as good a condition – if not better – than when they were built.

Student accommodation has changed beyond recognition in the past five years, according to the most informed expert sources, and the management team at PPM has led the way.

Managing director Karen Preece says: “We recognised early that students and their parents would be looking for a much better standard of accommodation than the UK student housing market had traditionally provided.

“En-suite bathrooms, fast Wi-Fi and modern décor are fast becoming the norm and we provide all these to our residents, many of whom come from overseas.

“By maintaining a high standard and enforcing, albeit with a light touch, our strict but fair ‘house rules’ we can ensure the quality of accommodation has not dipped.”

PPM understands students and their parents are choosier than they used to be. The tripling in 2012 of the maximum tuition fees for undergraduates to £9,000 a year has contributed to rising expectations among students of both their courses and their living conditions.

Investors who have bought into private student housing in the UK are sometimes disappointed by the way their investment has been allowed to deteriorate due to poor hands-off management and sub-standard service.

Not at Riverside House. The 24/7 hands-on management is paying off as Riverside House looks as good now as it did the day it opened.

“We will continue to look after Riverside House as if it were our own home and protect our asset along the way,” says Karen.

“All the improvements mean we continue to be very popular with discerning students and we will remain at the top of students and their parents’ wish list for accommodation in Manchester and Salford for years to come.

“In fact, because we have continually improved and upgraded rooms, the communal areas, the exterior of the building including external landscaping, I believe the clusters in Riverside House are actually in better shape now than when they were first built.”

Some of the improvements made since September 2013:

  • Replaced carpets throughout the communal corridors
  • Vinyl flooring has been replaced with superior Amtico tiles in all cluster kitchens and living rooms
  • LED lighting installed in communal and cluster corridors
  • Hardwired Ethernet cables have been added to each bedroom
  • The Wi-Fi system has been upgraded with all Wi-Fi access points replaced and capacity increased
  • The CCTV system protecting Riverside House has been improved with more cameras inside and out
  • A smoking shed is a new addition keeping all other areas smoke-free and clean
  • The very popular bicycle storage area has been upgraded
  • New paving has been added to the front entrance and around the car park area
  • Two new benches have been installed in the car park
  • Greenery, plant and shrubs make the external areas look fantastic
  • New planting troughs have been added and lots of box shrubs in multiple areas and Spring bulbs planted


Manchester and Salford remain at the top of the most desirable places to live for students and its housing market is as strong as anywhere in the UK.

As a result, demand for rental property in Manchester, such as Riverside House, is understandably at an all-time high, not only from tenants but investors looking to make a shrewd purchase.

In addition, Manchester has the largest university population in the country, it’s the third largest city in the UK, so demand will remain high for high quality accommodation.

Maintaining standards at Riverside House remains at the top of PPM’s ‘To Do List’ to ensure this popular residence remains at the top of new students’ ‘Wish List’.


Portergate launches Preston recruitment drive

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Student accommodation expert Portergate is launching a recruitment drive to create the team that will manage and operate its new £18 million development in the heart of Preston.

The new recruits will deliver the group’s boutique hotel-style service at Friargate Court once it opens its doors to welcome students at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) later this year.

The 244-bedroom development, which is helping kick-start the regeneration of Friargate, is also aimed at employees in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and Lancashire’s new Enterprise Zone.

Vacancies exist for a range of positions from housekeeping to concierge. Initial interviews for the posts will take place during the summer. Portergate is looking to build up a 10-strong team of highly-committed workers.

Portergate Property Management (PPM) has already made its first staff appointments at Friargate as it looks to create its Preston team.

Elaine Mason will be the development’s accommodation manager and Steven Dyson will be in charge of maintenance. Both will also carry out the same role at Portergate’s highly-successful flagship Riverside House student accommodation in Salford.

Elaine, from Lytham, brings with her a wealth of experience in the hotel and education sectors, including life as housemistress at a boarding school for girls. She has also worked for hotel groups across the UK.

Steven, from south Manchester, is experienced in a whole host of trades – from electrics and plumbing to joinery – which are ideal in fulfilling the role of ensuring both Portergate developments are properly looked after.

Work is continuing to complete the construction of Friargate Court, which sits near the city’s University Quarter, and the recruitment process is being timed to coincide with the final stages leading to its official opening.

Portergate prides itself on the quality and levels of service and support residents at its hotel-class properties receive once they move in.

Managing Director Karen Preece said: “Our recruitment process will get underway shortly. We’re looking for people who bring the right sort of experience and attitude, who understand the ethos and values of our business.

“The tremendously high standards Portergate sets reflect the demands and expectations of today’s students, and in particular their parents, who expect their sons and daughters to live in hotel-class accommodation while they enjoy their higher education.

“Everyone who works at Portergate is very passionate about what it does, with a total commitment to quality and that’s what the team we will be recruiting at Friargate will deliver.”

The Friargate development is part of Portergate’s ambitious North West expansion plans. It is currently under construction by the Preston-based Eric Wright group and is scheduled to be completed in the autumn.

Portergate’s successful Riverside House student accommodation in Salford has been a major success story and welcomes students from across the globe.

Phase II of £9m Salford riverside regeneration plan gets the go-ahead

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Ambitious plans for the £9 million second phase of the acclaimed Riverside House development in Salford have been given the green light by city planners.

Portergate Developments has got the go-ahead to create 45 luxury one, two and three bedroom apartments, along with a convenience store and café on a prime site, next to its successful student accommodation building on the banks of the River Irwell.

The apartments, many with balconies and river views, will be managed by Portergate’s property management arm and are aimed at young professionals, key workers and first time buyers.

The project will become the only bespoke private apartment residence, including a number of duplex apartments, on the stretch of the Irwell that leads directly into Manchester’s Cathedral Quarter and main shopping district.

The café will be located on the first floor of the development to give it river views. The plan also involves a central landscaped courtyard along with improvements to the riverside walkway and secure car parking for residents.

Anthony Jackson, chairman of Portergate Developments, believes Phase II of Riverside, on a vacant site backing onto St Simon Street, will also play another key role in the continued regeneration of the area, providing much needed homes for ambitious young people in the city.

The development, next to Riverside House’s popular boutique-style student accommodation, has been designed by leading North West architectural practice Studio KMA.

Work on the development will now get underway later this year with building work scheduled for completion in 2017.

Anthony Jackson said: “Riverside House has been a major success story for us. Students from across the world enjoy the experience of living here and the demand for these apartments is testament to the quality of the accommodation and the service provided.

“We’re very excited by the next phase of Riverside which promises to be even more successful, with well-designed, prestigious apartments aimed at graduates, young professionals and key workers.

“Salford City Council planners agreed with us there is strong demand for this stylish brand of city living in the area.

“And, coupled with the strong retail and restaurant offering, we believe this development at Riverside is something the area is crying out for.

“We’re also already seeing a lot of interest in this second phase from existing and new investors and our aim is to deliver a quality building that is as stylish and welcoming as Riverside House.

Andrew Titterton, director of Oldham-based Studio KMA, said: “The new development will replace a vacant depot site with a high quality residential-led mixed use development.

“It will also improve the pedestrian link between St Simon Street and the River Irwell, which will benefit people living in the area.

“The aim of our design was to provide further choice to apartment living in Salford. The development is made up of both single and dual aspect accommodation, a number of which are duplex layouts.”

“We’re looking forward to seeing our plans developed into vibrant, much needed homes for young people, filling a real need in the area.”

Strengthening community links

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has unveiled plans to further strengthen its links with the local community.

It’s a move that has been welcomed by Portergate as its £18 million Friargate student accommodation vision continues to take shape on the city skyline.

The university has revealed plans to open a city centre shop providing a weekly menu of services and activities for the general public.

‘In the City’ is the name of the new shop on Lune Street which was previously the Britannia Building Society.

It set to open by the end of March, hosting both UCLan-led and community group activities such as exhibitions, health and wellbeing services, business and legal advice workshops and science clubs.

The shop’s activities will be published online in advance on a weekly basis with people being encouraged to send in their own proposals for possible events.

UCLan Head of Communications and Engagement Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott is working on the initiative. She told the university’s website: “UCLan is committed to developing strong links and partnerships with the local community.

“And our ‘In the City’ shop will be a melting pot for new ideas and initiatives which can really drive our city forward.

“The new facility will be open-access and most sessions will be run free of charge useful source.” Suggestions so far include first aid workshops provided by the UCLan School of Nursing, a Saturday morning children’s science club run by the UCLan and Royal Institution Young Scientist Centre and live literature projects, such as storytelling and creative writing events.

People can also call in to find out more about UCLan courses and take part in drop- in taster sessions.

Anyone wanting to know more about the initiative or propose a workshop idea can contact the In the City shop team at

Meanwhile, Portergate’s stylish development is moving towards a much anticipated opening later this year.

The 1.5 acre Friargate site is being transformed with three new retail premises and the creation of a 244 bedroomed building aimed at providing Portergate’s brand of hotel-style accommodation to students at UCLan.

The regeneration project sits on the edge of the city’s thriving University Quarter.

Part of the high-quality accommodation that it will offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.