Newly floated Empiric buys Algernon Firth building for £7.2m

The Algernon Firth Building at Leeds University
The Algernon Firth Building at Leeds University
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A NEWLY floated property investor has spent some of its funds on the freehold of a prime student residence in Yorkshire.

Empiric Student Property plc, which raised £85m in summer’s initial public offering, bought Algernon Firth in Leeds for £7.2m.

The building offers high-quality student accommodation in a converted a Grade 2-listed building located within walking distance of both the city’s universities.

The fully occupied building has 111 beds in a mixture of en-suite flats and large loft-style studios. It also has a well-equipped gym and dedicated study areas.

Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, said: “Algernon Firth is a fantastic addition to the Empiric portfolio and marks the company’s first acquisition in Leeds, one of the top Russell Group university cities.

“We look forward to securing further investments in Leeds. The acquisition is in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns profile.”

The company is targeting a net total return to shareholders of 13 per cent per annum over the medium term, including a 6 per cent per annum dividend yield.

The building was named after leading Yorkshire industrialist and philanthropist Sir Algernon Firth and designed by Yorkshire architect John Clifford Proctor who, in turn, was inspired by the Dutch modernist, Willem Marinus Dudok.

Sir Algernon joined the family carpet manufacturing business, TF Firth and Company, and became chairman until his retirement in 1921.

In 1933 he commissioned the Algernon Firth Institute of Pathology, which remained open for more than 75 years.

Leeds University put the building up for sale for £1m in 2010.