Skyscraper plans fall through after buyer is unable to complete property deal

Hume House in Leeds
Hume House in Leeds
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The sale of the site planned for the tallest building in Leeds has fallen through at the final hour.

Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone announced the £3.55m sale of Hume House, near the First Direct Arena, last January with completion expected in December 2016.

Proposals for a ‘landmark’ 40-storey skyscraper on the site were unveiled in October by Leeds-based Knightsbridge Capital

At 126 metres, the luxury student accommodation block would have reached even higher than Bridgewater Place - the city’s tallest building.

But today the London-based firm said the buyer was “unable to complete the purchase” of the 18,716 sq ft building.

The company retains ownership of the property and receipt of the rental income of £188,000 per annum.

It said in a statement: “Ace remains convinced the current market will provide an opportunity to sell the property in the near future and a further announcement will be made at the appropriate time.”

Ace acquired the site £1.675m at auction in February 2014. The transaction would have represented a profit of £1.88m.

The firm said last year that it is targeting investment opportunities in Yorkshire as it looks to expand its portfolio.

Ismail Ghandour, chief executive, told The Yorkshire Post that deals were becoming more difficult to find in Leeds and Sheffield since the market improved but the region was one of its target areas for future growth.

The company also owns Hill Crest House in Leeds, which is occupied by the Department for Transport.

Ace’s strategy is to buy properties for £3m-£5m which it can sell again in a short space of time after increasing the value of them. Its property portfolio was valued at £28.5m last October, up from £11.9m the year before.