Unite acquires site for £80m Leeds development

Student accommodation developer Unite Students has exchanged contracts to acquire a development site in Leeds on a subject to planning basis.

The site, acquired from Regional REIT, is located in the city centre near to the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, and could accommodate more than 1,000 students.

The total development cost is expected to be around £80m and will be funded from internally-generated sources. The new building is expected to be open for the 2020 academic year and deliver a yield on cost of 8%. Regional REIT achieved a significant mark-up on the site, having acquired it in 2016 for just £1m before this £10m sale.

It will increase Unite’s Leeds portfolio to 4,470 beds, serving a student population of 58,000. In the last five years, Unite’s occupancy in the city has been 99% with over 1,200 beds subject to nominations agreements with Leeds universities.

Richard Simpson, group property director at Unite said: “Leeds is a strong performing market with two high quality Universities. Unite has maintained a 99% occupancy rate in the city over the past five years, signalling we have room to expand and there is demand for the quality, affordable student accommodation we provide. We are confident the site in Leeds - subject to planning approvals - will be a great addition for Leeds’ growing number of students.”

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