Orchard Street receives planning for student-led mixed-use scheme

Orchard Street receives planning approval to transform former Debenhams store into a student-led mixed-use scheme.

Briggate Street. Image credit: CJCT Architects - Orchard Street | PBSA News
Briggate Street. Image credit: CJCT Architects.

Specialist commercial property investment manager – Orchard Street Investment Management (‘Orchard Street’) – has received planning permission from Leeds City Council to transform the former Debenhams store on Briggate, Leeds, into a new, student-led mixed-use asset.

The development will see the former Debenhams department store repurposed to provide 124 high-quality studio apartments. The basement, ground and first floors will offer c.45,000 sq ft of prime, flexible retail space in the heart of the city’s shopping district. The scheme is due to complete in the second half of 2023.

Stace LLP has been appointed as project manager for the design and construction stages of the scheme. Chapman Tolcher Carey Jones Studios have been retained as Architects, Icis Design as structural engineers, Hollis Global as Cost Consultants, A Plus as M&E Consultants and Savills as Planning Consultants – alongside others that make up a strong design team. The main contractor and student operator appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.

The new scheme has been designed to meet demand from the city’s high student population, driven by its five city-centre universities, with more than 38,000 university students currently unable to access purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

“Redeveloping the former Debenhams will give the property a new lease of life, while providing a high-quality offering that meets the rising need for purpose-built student accommodation in the City Centre. This project will allow us to revitalise what remains a strategically placed asset whilst adding vibrancy to the area and complementing the commercial offer.” 

Marcus Mann, Asset Manager, Orchard Street

The scheme will preserve the listed building’s architecture while adding a fifth floor, redeveloping the fourth floor, and comprehensively refurbishing the interior to include a modern atrium running throughout the centre of the upper floors. In line with Orchard Street’s Responsible Investment approach, the building will incorporate a number of wellness and sustainability initiatives – as well as shared amenities to improve the occupier experience. Amenities include a rooftop sky lounge and a wellness courtyard to maximise the use of outside space to the benefit of the residents.

Located at the centre of the city’s vibrant shopping and leisure district, and within walking distance to the different universities, students will be minutes away from the city’s strong line-up of cultural and commercial attractions and public transport links.