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Doors have opened to the show flat at a new student housing development in central Brighton, explains a media release from the University of Sussex.

Construction work at the former Co-op building in London Road began in 2013 and the first students will be moving in to Abacus House, as the residence will be known, for the academic year 2014-15.

The building will be managed by a specialist student accommodation company, who will also retain responsibility for letting 51 studio units, but the University of Sussex will allocate the tenants for all of the single study bedrooms in the shared apartments (which have three, four or five bedrooms).

The rent of £143 per week includes all utility bills, contents insurance and a 20Mb broadband connection at no extra charge.

The University has been working in close partnership with the developer, Watkin Jones, on plans to regenerate the 80-year-old building – which has stood empty since 2007 – by creating accommodation for 351 students.

The design, for retail outlets and leisure facilities on the ground floor and managed student accommodation above, retains the façade of the original 1930s building.

The University already owns and manages a wide variety of accommodation off campus, including the King’s Road residence on Brighton seafront and several houses.

To meet the growing demand, however, other developments are necessary.

Charles Dudley, Director of Residential, Sport & Trading Services, says: “The project complements the work that the University is doing to develop and expand student accommodation on campus and will provide additional capacity while we bring forward further schemes.

“Abacus House will be particularly attractive to postgraduate, mature and overseas students who might otherwise be housed in the private sector.”

A car-free development, the building will contain secure, covered storage for up to 120 bicycles.

Charles says: “The accommodation is ideally located close to the attractions of the city but with ease of access by public transport and cycle lanes to the Falmer campus.”

Although there will be a management team on site, the University will expect to be responsible for the welfare of Sussex students living at Abacus House and to be involved with community and neighbourhood relations.

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