Green light for £100m 32-storey tower

The redevelopment of 44 Merrion Street in Leeds has been granted detailed planning permission by a unanimous decision at Leeds City Council’s Plans Planel. With the £100m scheme set to provide accommodation for 660 students across 32 storeys.

The SimpsonHaugh designed project will replace a large 1970s office block that was previously home to Spanish banking giant Santander.

The mixed-use building, which rises to 99.8metres, will have active uses at street level and deliver significant public realm enhancements. While the internal space has been conceived “to help provide for the city’s pressing need for state-of-the-art purpose-designed student accommodation”, it will include 573 rooms and studio apartments for undergraduates alongside 87 postgraduate studio apartments.

The development company – Merrion Street Leeds Ltd – is owned by Real Estate Capital Holdings in partnership with Bloombridge LLP. Real Estate Capital Holdings is also a major shareholder in affordable housing specialist Living Space Housing, strategic land company Terra Strategic, and Hayfield – the UK’s Best Small Housebuilder (WhatHouse? and Housebuilder Awards).

Richard Cutler, director of Merrion Street Leeds Ltd and a partner at Bloombridge said. “We are delighted to receive detailed planning permission for this landmark scheme. It has taken 18 months of hard work from the whole team to get to this stage and we are very grateful to our stakeholders and Leeds City Council for the support shown.

“The redevelopment of 44 Merrion Street will bring a world-class tall building to the city, help to meet the need for student accommodation from the 60,000 students in the Universities and Colleges of Leeds, and generate much needed construction jobs and permanent jobs in the process.”

Cutler added, “Everything about this project signifies a strong response to the uncertainties created by Covid-19. As well as providing a design-led home for students, this development will raise the bar for architecture in Leeds’ Cultural District. It will provide new street level retail, arts and cultural space, as well as delivering public realm enhancements – including new trees – within the vicinity of important historic assets such as the Grade I Listed St John’s Church.”

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