Leeds: Unfinished city centre hotel could become student flats

Work was abruptly halted on the Portland Crescent hotel scheme in 2015.
Work was abruptly halted on the Portland Crescent hotel scheme in 2015.

Work to resurrect a part-finished tower in Leeds City Centre could start as early as next month.

Building work on a proposed 16-storey hotel in Portland Crescent was abandoned more than three years ago when the building contractor went into administration.

The site has has laid untouched ever since, but council decision-makers will discuss the application to repurpose the building for student flats at a meeting next week.

Planning permission had originally been granted on the development in July 2009 for a "part 6 and part 14 storey hotel building with

246 bedrooms".

Work still hadn't started over the following two years, and the applicants were granted an extension on the two-year time limit in 2011.

Work finally started on the site at the end of 2013, but was halted in March 2015 after developers GB Building Solutions and its parent company went into administration.

But the partially-completed site has since been bought by the Select Property Group, with the intention to complete the work and use the building as student accommodation under its Vita brand.

The development would comprise of 316 student studio flats, along opportunities to open food and retail spaces on the ground floor.

It would be Vita’s second in the city after work started on another student complex at St Alban’s Place.

A report going before the plans panel states Vita intend to "re-commence work at this site immediately in September 2018 subject to planning permission being granted".

The council report states: "The incomplete appearance of the hotel development and the associated temporary arrangements for pedestrians, delivery of materials and the position of the site cabins, have been a significant concern for a considerable period of time.

"Consequently, expediting the completion of the building work and restoration of surrounding land and highways would be beneficial and highly desirable.

"This scheme is a prominently-sited regeneration opportunity that would deliver new student residential dwellings in a sustainable location, and resolve the current issues of an unsightly part-completed building with undesirable pedestrian and vehicular diversions around the site compound.

"It is recommended that planning permission is granted, subject to the conditions and planning obligations set out."

The application will be heard at the City Plans Panel in Civic Hall on Thursday, August 23.