Plans have been submitted to Leeds City Council by Brewster Bye Architects to transform a vacant site on Merrion Street in Leeds, into 88 high specification studio apartments with associated amenities for students, on behalf of developer Urban Developments (York) Ltd.

If approved, the vacant building at 26-34 Merrion Street, would be demolished, and a stunning new building, part five, part seven and part nine storeys high, will be built, with work starting in early 2022. The scheme would be ready for occupation by summer 2023.

Delivered under the ‘Engage’ brand, all 88 studios will have en-suites and the new building would also include a lounge, gym, study rooms, a cinema room and laundry facilities for all students. Four of the studios are accessible and there are two larger premium studios. The development will also include a staffed reception area and 23 cycle spaces.

The submission follows extensive engagement with planning officers. The site had previously been granted planning permission for a mixed-use scheme, four years ago.

Mark Henderson, from Brewster Bye Architects, said: “Since the initial planning application, this area of Leeds, has benefited from significant investment and development and become a really attractive area for students. Last year the former Santander office building, which is adjacent to this site, was granted approval for conversion into part four, part 10 and part 32 storey development of over 500 apartments. Known as the Merrion Project, this scheme will provide an attractive focal point in a cluster of taller buildings in the area, and our design would sit well in this expertly and freshly designed part of Leeds.”

Located on the northern edge of Leeds City Centre’s main shopping and leisure quarters, Victoria Gate and Trinity shopping centres, as well as the city’s main university campuses and Leeds General Infirmary, are all less than a 10-minute walk away.

Nick Gould from Urban Developments (York) Ltd, said: “The close proximity to both the universities and the city’s main shopping and leisure districts means that this area, in the heart of the acclaimed Arena Quarter, has become very popular for residential and student accommodation development. It’s now one of the city’s most vibrant areas, and has a mix of bars, cafes, restaurants and takeaways on the doorstep, as well as a host of retail and cultural offerings. The Leeds Arena and the investment in the Merrion Centre makes it a popular destination for leisure and entertainment that is ideal for students. We believe that this exclusive development will be a great place for people to live and enjoy the very best of Leeds, whilst benefiting from first class higher education.”

Mark, added: “The design ensures a seamless transition between the point of height of the Merrion Project, and the lower buildings to the east. The building steps down in height and therefore complements the surrounding streetscape. Divided into three vertical bays, which are typical of the architectural rhythm of the wider area, and by specifying vertical recessed glazed breaks between each bay, this enables the building to sit as a family of smaller buildings with a unified materiality and style. All of the glazing on the ground floor allows for an attractive and continuous street frontage on Merrion Street, which also mirrors the frontage of The Merrion Project.”

The development is the second student scheme under the Engage brand to be submitted for planning by the Urban Developments and Brewster Bye team. A planning application was submitted earlier this year to build a major new 297-bedroom student accommodation scheme on Traffic Street, in Nottingham’s Southside Regeneration Area.