604-bed student accommodation to replace older development

Work is to begin on knocking down a 20-year-old, 239-bed, student scheme on Carlton Hill in Leeds, replacing it with a larger 604-bed purpose-built student scheme.

The new building, which will be 15 storeys at the highest point, has been designed to provide affordable living, with a strong emphasis on an environment to support students’ mental health and well-being.

Pickard Properties has committed to begin the demolition work and GMI Construction has been appointed as the main contractor to build the new property.

Lee Powell, divisional director of GMI, said: “This is a significant project win and we are looking forward to working with Pickard Properties, Fox Lloyd Jones and the rest of the team in changing the landscape of the Leeds City skyline.

“The scheme enables GMI to enhance its successful track record of delivering student residential living and we are proud to be involved in a ground-breaking design that caters for students’ mental wellbeing.”

It is planned for students to move into the new building during September 2023.

Pickard Properties, advised by Fox Lloyd Jones, and Unipol Student Homes, finalised a creative deal structure following three years of dialogue.

The new £40m scheme, will be leased by Unipol and will house students exclusively nominated by the University of Leeds.

It will incorporate several fully landscaped three-storey “sky gardens”, allocated to clusters of apartments.

The open-air theme also extends to ground floor level with its own courtyard, providing a combination of natural and interactive spaces for student studying and socialising.

As well as advising on the deal structure, Fox Lloyd Jones will also be acting as project manager, quantity surveyor and development manager from commencement through to hand over. It will work alongside main contractor GMI.

Director of Pickard Properties, Miles Pickard, said: “We know there has been a huge change to students’ needs, and therefore a considerable amount of thought has been given to the design, social circulation and interaction for the wellbeing of students.

“We are really looking forward to developing Carlton Hill for the students of Leeds to enjoy this modern, cutting-edge addition to the accommodation available to them in the city.

Daniel Jamieson, of Fox Lloyd Jones, said: “It has been a great team effort to get over some complex hurdles around planning, funding, demolition and contractor appointment.

“We are pleased to finally get the scheme to site and are excited to deliver what will be a landmark development for the city perfectly located to serve its growing student population.”

Martin Blakey of Unipol added: “We are looking forward to 2023 when we will take delivery of what will be an exciting new living environment, available at an affordable rent providing value for money, for students of the university.

“Everyone involved in this development has worked hard to ensure this building will be a home from home and a great place to live.”

Other companies involved in the scheme are architects Halliday Clark; planning consultant Quod; civil and structural engineers Sweco; services engineer Hoare Lea; and landscape architect Smeeden Foreman.