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Leeds and Sheffield

Key takeaways:
  • Developed luxury student accommodation in Sheffield and Leeds
  • Provides homes for over 700 students
  • Sold both properties to institutional investor for £90 million

Seeing a gap at the top end of the market, London & Scottish established its student housing division to build student accommodation offering excellent amenities with considerable personal space.

In December 2015 the company bought Crown House, a former office block in Sheffield’s popular Cathedral Quarter, and developed it into high-end student accommodation comprising 355 luxury studio bedrooms. Building work was completed in July 2017 and the property was opened to students in September 2017.

Then in April 2017, it bought Symons House, a 1980s four-storey office building in Leeds. It developed the site into a 22-storey student accommodation with 351 beds. The building was completed and fitted out in December 2019 and opened in January 2020.

Using the same team of contractors on both builds, London & Scottish developed a design specification that could be replicated across other projects. Both properties have 8,000 sq ft of amenity space with lounges, a study area, a private dining area, a cinema, a games area, a fitness suite and outdoor areas with BBQ and open-air cinema.

Having proved that the model works, the company is looking to reinvest the proceeds in further projects. This will include student developments in other university towns, but will also consider opportunities in other sectors.”

The properties were marketed by Knight Frank. Rachel Pengilley, partner in Knight Frank’s Student Property team, said:

“This transaction represents the most significant deal in the UK student accommodation market since we entered lockdown in March … despite a tumultuous first half of 2020, the long-standing fundamentals of the student sector remain attractive, and we are seeing renewed interest to acquire from a variety of funding sources.”