Dominus receives planning for 65 Crutched Friars PBSA in London

Dominus receives planning permission for 65 Crutched Friars, a purpose-built student accommodation scheme in the heart of London.

65 Crutched Friars east entrance view from Vine Street. Dominus has received planning permission for the London scheme | PBSA News
65 Crutched Friars east entrance view from Vine Street. Dominus has received planning permission for the London scheme.

Real estate company Dominus secures planning permission for a mixed-use scheme in the heart of the City of London, as it aims to become the Capital’s largest developer of student accommodation. 65 Crutched Friars, the new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme was given the green light this week by the City of London’s planning applications sub-committee amid a growing need for student accommodation in London.

Dominus has planning permission for 2,591 student beds, which forms a key plank of its ambitious ten-year growth plan. Designed by award-winning Danish architectural practice 3XN, 65 Crutched Friars PBSA is in London’s Square Mile close to Fenchurch Street, Tower Hill and Aldgate stations.

65 Crutched Friars courtyard entrance off Northumberland Alley | PBSA News
65 Crutched Friars courtyard entrance off Northumberland Alley.

Planning permission follows Dominus’ project at 61-65 Holborn Viaduct, a 644-unit student accommodation development which also received approval this month (February 2023).

“Getting these plans approved is a huge moment as we cement our position in the PBSA sector. We can draw on all our experience in hospitality to show we really understand what makes a successful student development, not just for those living there, but for the community as a whole.

“When we started out back in 2011, the goal was to build a real estate business that wasn’t only scalable and fast-growing, but was philanthropic at heart, going above and beyond to improve people’s lives.

“Today, everything we do for the business as brothers is driven by this idea, and the desire to create places and spaces that make a positive contribution to cities and communities across the UK.”

Jay Ahluwalia, Principal Director, Dominus
65 Crutched Friars Street entrance from Northumberland Alley | PBSA News
65 Crutched Friars Street entrance from Northumberland Alley.

Planning approval for 65 Crutched Friars also secures the future of London’s Migration Museum – currently temporarily housed in a shopping centre in Lewisham – with Dominus helping to fund a £15m relocation and refit to create the first-ever Migration Museum for Britain.

“We are so grateful for Dominus’ belief in the importance of this museum, and for their transformational support. With their help we can now look forward to a very bright future for the museum.” 

Sophie Henderson, Chief Executive, Migration Museum
65 Crutched Friars Museum corner entrance off Crutched Friars | PBSA News
65 Crutched Friars Museum corner entrance off Crutched Friars.

The museum, which counts actors Riz Ahmed, Naomie Harris and Joanna Lumley among its high-profile supporters, will be installed in the first three floors of the prime development. 

As well as agreeing to host the museum, Dominus has guaranteed to underwrite its first five years’ operating costs, as well as proposing a donation of £500,000 to pay for a team to lead the multi-million-pound fundraising drive.  

 “It is difficult to overstate what all of this means for the Migration Museum. Dominus’ support is, quite simply, critical to our ability to deliver a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art Migration Museum.  We could not do so without it. 

“We believe that a permanent and significant Migration Museum is an important and long overdue addition to Britain’s cultural landscape and there is no better place than the heart of the City of London, Britain’s gateway to the world for thousands of years.”

Charles Gurassa, Chair of Migration Museum
65 Crutched Friars Museum courtyard off Northumberland Alley | PBSA News
65 Crutched Friars Museum courtyard off Northumberland Alley.

The Greater London Authority’s London Plan currently identifies a need for 3,500 student beds to be delivered annually to support a domestic and international student population, which has grown 10% in the last five years.

Over the last ten years, Dominus has become one of the fastest growing real estate platforms in the UK, rapidly expanding its property portfolio with diverse investments from industry-leading hotels to award-winning residential properties, regeneration projects and mixed-use schemes and hospitality, led by brothers Husnell, Preet and Jay Ahluwalia.

With 35 projects completed and 16 in development, Dominus plans to significantly expand the business by building on their hotel expertise, but also expanding significantly into student accommodation and the Build to Rent market, as well as plans to set up a new investment fund.