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Demolition paves the way for multimillion-pound Merrion Street student development

Development specialists Urban Group (York) Ltd has completed the demolition work at 26-34 Merrion Street and has now commenced on the foundations of the circa £15 million nine-storey Straits Aire student accommodation scheme in Leeds.

The 32,000 sq ft (2,898 sq m) building will provide 88 boutique en-suite studios, including four rooms designed for those with disabilities and two premium suites.

With on-site facilities including a cinema, gym, lounge, event, dining and breakout study space and laundry facilities, it is expected to appeal to students seeking high specification accommodation.

Straits Aire is being delivered by Urban Group’s Construction Division, which specialises in buy-to-let residential and student accommodation, and will complete in summer 2024.

Q Investment Partners (QIP) closed on the circa £15million deal last year, and this transaction forms part of a larger institutionally-backed student housing fund. The circa £150million portfolio managed by QIP comprises some 1,000 bedrooms around the UK, from Edinburgh to Greater London

Craig Stevens, Construction Director at Urban, said: “This is a challenging site in a constrained city centre location. With careful management we are on schedule and there has been lots of interest as the building starts to emerge.

“We are working with a fantastic team of sub-contractors and have established a variety of work and training opportunities in the city as part of the development.

“Ultimately, it will be great to bring this site back into use and deliver some fantastic studio apartments close to the city’s universities as well as shops and leisure outlets, bringing a boost to Leeds economy.”

Working with a team of established sub-contractors, demolition work of the former derelict bar completed in January 2023, paving the way for a nine-week programme of foundation and groundwork.

The tower crane will be established on site to commence steelwork. Urban will also deliver the fit-out up to practical completion of the building in July 2024.

Designed by Brewster Bye Architects, it will be operated by Prestige Student Living, the premium brand of Homes for Students, and it will have a manned reception facility.