Rialto Flats Project: GMI Construction Commences £50M Groundbreaking Development
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Rialto Flats Project: GMI Construction Commences £50M Groundbreaking Development

GMI Construction Group is constructing a four-storey block of student flats with 275 beds in a £50m student accommodation scheme.

Developer Olympian Homes is naming the purpose-build student accommodation (PBSA) Rialto House, after the former cinema on the site that once hosted a performance by The Beatles.

Spanning 80,000 sq. feet, the development will also provide modern amenities, including a gym, yoga studio, games room, co-working spaces, group dining areas, integrated cycle parking, and landscaped courtyards. In a nod to its heritage, it will also feature a cinema.


The development is a 10-minute walk from the city centre and seven-minute bus ride from the University of York.

The site of the Rialto Cinema, which opened in 1913, is located within an area of archaeological importance and adjacent to the Central Core Historic Conservation Area.

In its heyday, the art deco Rialto venue which dated from the 1930s hosted stars such as the The Beatles, Cilla Black and Mick Jagger in the 1960s. It was knocked down to make way for the bingo hall which opened in 2003.

Latterly the site of the cinema became a car park for the adjacent Mecca bingo hall, which has also since been demolished and is within the scheme’s footprint.

Leeds-based GMI, which is utilizing a predominantly local supply chain on the project, is highly active in the PBSA market, with Rialto House bringing the number of student beds it is building in the city to almost 600.

This includes 303-beds at a scheme in James Street on behalf of York-based S Harrison Developments, which is currently under construction.

Andrew Hurcomb, GMI’s Regional Director for Yorkshire, said: “We are thrilled to begin construction on our on-going collaboration with Olympian Homes to deliver a cost-effective, and sustainable design that helps address a shortage of student accommodation in York.”

James Lindridge, COO & Development Director at Olympian Homes, added: “We are delighted to have now made significant progress on such a landmark site within York. We would like to thank York City Council for their ongoing support in delivering the scheme, and GMI for their professionalism and deft in getting to this stage. We look forward to showcasing a best-in-class student product to assist with the undersupply of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation within York.”

During the planning process for the scheme a statement from the developers highlighted that there are currently around 27,000 registered students in full-time education from the city’s two universities and just over 10,000 purpose-built student bedrooms.