I have often been asked; how did you get the idea for the Studios24? A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting a number of universities around the country, as my daughter was looking at where she would go to study.
I didn’t go to university, so it was all new to me, from the lecture theatres to the vast sports halls, the students union bar to the library complexes. We were shown around vast campuses by students proud of what their universities had to offer.
Part of each tour was to see the halls of residence for the first year students. Here there was a variety of standards and types of accommodation. The older style was pretty grim, with linoleum floors and bathrooms that hadn’t been modernised.
The newer buildings had en-suite facilities and shared use of a luxury kitchen. It seemed that the most popular, as far as the students were concerned, was the clusters of six rooms, all with en-suite facilities, and shared use of a kitchen.
The most mentioned feature, however, was when there was a bar or communal area where the new students could meet people. They talked about how many of them would meet up in the bar after lectures. It’s fair to say my daughter’s eyes lit up. It seems the key was community.
Now wind forward to November 2015. I had spent some time looking for properties that could be rental investments and was asked to view Construction House, at 24 Birch Street in Wolverhampton. The property had been vacant for a couple of years since Carillion had moved to its new offices.
No-one knew what to do with the building. There were plenty of other, more modern offices available and the idea of refurbishing to either contemporary offices or luxury apartments for sale seemed to not gain much interest.
An idea was floated to convert the offices to student accommodation but it seems there was already a vast supply of similar accommodation, which meant that no-one had the confidence to see what could be done with this unloved building.
As I walked through abandoned floors and marvelled at the 360-degree views of the Black Country, West Park, and Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club’s stadium, an idea came to me.
Let’s create a community for like-minded individuals, a place to call home and, more importantly, a place to meet people.
There is very little availability when it comes to accommodation for the young employed of the Midlands. Either you have to find someone to share a flat with, and hope that you get on with them, or find a house that the landlord has looked after. Generally there is an element of luck when it comes to who you live with.
The key to what we are trying to create at the Studios24 is ‘community’.
One of the biggest issues with our world is loneliness. So many people but so few friends. This may sound corny but the Studios24 is full of friends you are yet to meet.
We are trying to make it as simple as possible for people to live without the worry of what bill is around the corner. To not only have your own private space but also to have private communal areas where you can socialise, start that new business you thought of, watch a film or maybe play a game of Jenga!
We are on a journey with the Studios24. Hope you can join us.