Alumno has started construction on a new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme in Leeds city centre. Located on Whitelock Street, the scheme has been designed by Durham-based architecture practice, Howarth Litchfield. Global professional services firm – RPS – was responsible for submitting the planning application and has subsequently been appointed project manager, cost consultant, principal designer and BREEAM assessor.
Alumno has worked with Howarth Litchfield from the pre-planning stage proposals to demolish several vacant buildings on the site in preparation for its full re-development. Howarth Litchfield was appointed lead architect for the project after submitting a competitive tender and was ideally qualified to undertake the commission following the success of its work on an earlier 420-bed student scheme for Alumno at Sheraton Park, Durham.
“We have collaborated closely with the Alumno team from the outset, and following a successful planning outcome, we were subsequently novated to provide a D&B role throughout the construction programme following GMI Construction’s appointment as preferred contactor in April 2021.
“We are absolutely delighted to be involved again on such a notable student accommodation scheme with Alumno, who are well known for their high quality – high yield PBSA projects. Also, from a planning perspective, it is satisfying to be able to bring a disused site back to life in an up-and-coming area of the city.”Jonathan Yates, Managing Director, Architect, Howarth Litchfield
The new PBSA building will be six and seven storeys high and will have a substantially brick facing design. It features storey height windows and deep reveals with feature brick detailing. The scheme will include 411 student beds – a mix of cluster flats and studios and includes ten accessible bedrooms. With a gross internal area of 11,840sqm, the development will provide an entrance hub with communal space, offices, a meeting room, laundry and gym. At roof level there is a terrace with an innovative specially planted biodiversity area featuring further communal study spaces and a cinema room.
The ground floor level will provide a flexible gallery and studio space which will be used to support local artists and will feature workshops, a kiln and exhibition area. It will be run by a local non-profit organisation.
“We are pleased to be working with the Howarth Litchfield team again on this scheme as we developed a strong working relationship with them on our Durham project and they understand the way we think and what we are trying to achieve.
“Alumno strives to shape communities with innovative student accommodation schemes that really raise the bar for student living and this is no exception with its public art space on the ground floor, which we see as being a tremendous asset to the local community as well as adding interest for visitors and the students who live there. Placemaking is a key driver in our designs and ensuring everything we do brings value back to the local community is central to who we are.”David Lindsay, Development Manager, Alumno
Building and construction services company – GMI Construction Group – has been working on this project with Alumno. With an 80-week build programme, the first three months will be dedicated to the demolition of the currently buildings on the site, to make way for the new development.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with Alumno with this latest project, which will be a significant part of supporting Leeds’ growing position as a major university city.
“The first three months of the 80-week build programme will be spent demolishing the three existing buildings to make way for the new development. As part of this initial stage, we are currently engaged in disassembling the buildings’ interiors as well as starting to lay concrete foundations. Piling will be starting soon for the new build, which will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of this area of Leeds.”Lee Powell, CEO, GMI Construction Group