New lease of life for former Leeds nightspot with £10m student flats

A well-known Leeds nightspot could be transformed into a £10m student flats scheme, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

Development, investment and lettings company YPP has submitted plans to turn a derelict building on Cookridge Street, which was formerly home to Australian themed bar chain Walkabout, into 96 apartments.

Walkabout opened in 1999 but closed in summer 2013 due to poor trading conditions.

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If permission is given the go-ahead, the existing building will be demolished and replaced by a modern part-six and part-eight storey building that will house the self-contained student apartments.

The development, which has been designed by Brewster Bye Architects, will also include two ground floor retail units, a lettings office that will be occupied by YPP, and a range of communal facilities for the development including a lounge, gym and study area.

YPP recently started work on another student development, Fairbairn House, which Brewster Bye and Indigo Planning also advised on, consisting of 25 apartments at 12 Clarendon Road, Leeds.

The development is due to complete this summer in time for the start of the next academic year in September.

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Omar Al-Nujaifi, from YPP, said: “We have a reputation for offering students high quality homes in superb locations and this development has the potential to be one of the best student addresses in Leeds.

“Leeds city centre’s amenities and its universities are right on the doorstep and when this is combined with an exceptional brand new building and great communal facilities, there’s no doubt it would be a highly sought after place to live.”

Chris Austin, managing director at Headingley-based Brewster Bye Architects, added: “The former Walkabout building has sat empty in recent years so this development would significantly enhance the existing streetscape and complement the sensitive conservation area.

“The modern building is specifically designed to respond to the tight urban nature of the site, between the stunning façade of the O2 Academy and a new hotel development.

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“It will be built using stone to match adjacent buildings and feature two stepped storeys on top, constructed mainly of glass, which will make it a prominent landmark in this fast evolving part of the city.”

In recent years there has been a shift in where students live, moving closer to city centres and away from neighbourhoods deemed more suited to families.

Simon Grundy, regional director at Indigo Planning added: “This development would provide much-needed purpose-built student housing in a prime location.”