residential tower,

Leeds City Council has given the green light for plans to redevelop 44 Merrion Street into a new 32-storey residential tower in the city centre

The £100m residential tower scheme will provide accommodation for 660 students.

Designed by SimpsonHaugh, the project will replace a large 1970s office block that was previously home to banking giant Santander.

The mixed-use residential tower, which rises to 99.8m, will have active uses at street level and deliver public realm enhancements.

The internal space has been conceived to help provide for the city’s pressing need for state-of-the-art purpose-designed student accommodation, with 573 undergraduate club rooms and studio apartments, together with 87 postgraduate studio apartments.

The project is being developed by Merrion Street Leeds Ltd and is owned by Real Estate Capital Holdings in partnership with Bloombridge LLP.

Richard Cutler, director of Merrion Street Leeds Ltd 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.”

‘Tall buildings are markers for ambition’

Ian Simpson, founding partner of SimpsonHaugh said: “Tall buildings are markers for ambition, pride and confidence. They tell a story about a city and its direction of travel and in turn attract people to both visit and put down roots.

“It is very pleasing to be awarded planning for a 32-storey tower in the current market where investment injections are needed to stimulate the economy.

“Once built, this evocative, sculptural crystalline form will become home to 660 students, many of whom will hopefully choose to permanently reside in the city region following their graduation.”

The reflective appearance of the residential tower has led to it being described as a crystalline structure.

The design and engineering for the scheme has sustainability at its heart and renewable energy solutions and high thermal efficiency measures have been central to the project brief.

Richard Cutler, partner of Bloombridge LLP, 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.”

In addition to SimpsonHaugh & Partners, the project team includes Savills, WSP, Re-Form and Paragon.

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