Singapore private equity firm swoops for major new student accommodation scheme in Leeds

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

A stunning new student accommodation scheme on Merrion Street in central Leeds has been sold to Q Investment Partners (QIP), a Singapore headquartered private equity real estate firm that connects residential real estate to capital markets, in a deal worth approximately £15 million.

The 88 high specification studio apartments with associated amenities, are being built at 26-34 Merrion Street. Work will start this month, and the scheme will be ready for occupation in time for the start of the 2024/25 academic year.

The part five, part seven and part nine storey building has been designed by Brewster Bye Architects and will be delivered by Urban Developments (York) Ltd for QIP.

This latest transaction forms part of a larger student housing fund managed by QIP and backed by a consortium of institutional investors, launched this year to invest in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) projects. The fund currently manages a c.£150 million portfolio that consists of approximately 1,000 student bedrooms in the UK across top-tier student cities – Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield and Greater London.

The Merrion Street property is located in the heart of Leeds city centre, within close proximity of both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. It will be operated by Homes for Students, a leading student accommodation operator in the UK with 40,000 PBSA beds nationwide in the UK.

Peter Young, CEO & Co-founder QIP said: “QIP is pleased to be transacting in another PBSA development asset, further expanding our residential living platform in the UK. It is a particularly interesting time to be buying and finding value in the specialist UK residential housing sector. Without a doubt, the current macro market influences are presenting valued opportunities in PBSA, and we are thrilled to continue to work with one of the leading institutional investors* in transacting this opportunity through one of our funds.”

Nick Gould from Urban Developments (York) Ltd, said: “It’s a great site, located right between the city’s universities and key retail areas. Brewster Bye’s design meets all of the needs of modern students, and we are looking forward to delivering this much needed, purpose-built student scheme for QIP.” 

Mark Henderson, from Brewster Bye Architects, said: “After designing this scheme and securing planning permission for it earlier this year, it’s fantastic to see work starting on site. For a global property fund to invest in the development, at this early stage, speaks volumes about the quality of the scheme and Leeds’s student market as a whole.

“All 88 studios will have en-suites and the new building will also include a lounge, gym, study rooms, a cinema room and laundry facilities for residents. 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 scheme is 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.