ENGIE lands £200m University of Leicester green student village deal

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Leicester City Council’s Planning Committee approved plans for the new Freemen’s Common Student Village in April.

By U2B Staff 

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ENGIE has secured over £200 million (US$242 million) in contracts for a state-of-the-art student accommodation and regeneration scheme for the University of Leicester.

The contract is from Freemens Common Village, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) established to design, build, fund, manage and operate the project for the university.

The plans include a series of high-quality residences for around 1,200 students, a new 550-space multi-storey car park, a landmark Teaching and Learning Centre, as well as the refurbishment and extension of the Grade II-listed Freemen’s Cottages as the centrepiece of the scheme.

ENGIE has also signed a 50-year hard facilities management and lifecycle contract and will take an equity stake in the project alongside Equitix and the university.


“This is a prime project for ENGIE, as it’s one of the few occasions where we get to showcase our broad capabilities in placemaking,” said Divisional Chief Operating Officer for ENGIE’s Places & Communities Division (North), Martin Smithurst.

“These contracts not only allow us to demonstrate our expertise across energy, services and regeneration; but provides us with the opportunity to apply our long-term investment model, by taking an equity stake in the scheme.”

Leicester City Council’s Planning Committee approved plans for the new Freemen’s Common Student Village in April.

Demolition on the site began immediately following approval and construction is due to commence imminently.


According to the University of Leicester, the multi-storey car park is due for completion in summer 2020, the Teaching and Learning Centre and the first residences will open in 2021, with the completion of the scheme as a whole by 2022.

“The new student residences will provide a huge improvement in the quality and choice of accommodation for our students, including unrivalled new social facilities,” Director of Finance at the University of Leicester, Martyn Riddleston, said in a statement at the time.

“The new Teaching and Learning Centre will deliver a next-generation learning environment, enabling our students and staff to benefit from the latest technological advancements.”


The new buildings will be set within an impressive landscaping scheme of tree-lined walking routes, wildflower planting and gardens, with two generous public spaces providing a focal point to the design.

A key element in the design of the new student accommodation facilities is energy efficiency. The overall scheme will incorporate a number of renewable and energy-saving technologies including highly efficient centralised gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP), solar panels, and LED lighting will be installed.

“This development will deliver a significant regeneration of the Freemens Common site, providing market-leading accommodation for the university to support their recruitment strategy, as well as demonstrating the capability and experience of our team and supply chain to respond to complex projects of this nature,” said major projects director and project lead at ENGIE, Jake Fellows.