Early plans for gigantic 28-storey student block on site of Leeds city centre office block

Early plans to demolish an office block in Leeds city centre, and replace it with 28 storeys of student housing, are set to go before Leeds City Council plans panel next week.

Commerce House, opposite the Merrion Centre, could be demolished to make way for student flats tower.
Commerce House, opposite the Merrion Centre, could be demolished to make way for student flats tower.

Applicants Black Caviar Property Ltd want to knock down Commerce House in Wade Lane to make way for a tower reaching 28 storeys at its highest points.

Under the plans, the building would contain 362 studio flats for students, as well as a gym and cinema room.

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Commerce House was constructed in the late 1970s and is still in use.

Commerce House, opposite the Merrion Centre, could be demolished to make way for student flats tower.

A council report into the early plans states: “Although the property remains in active office use, the site is not in an area of the city with a shortfall of employment land. New office development has recently taken place at Merrion House and approval in principle has recently been given for office floorspace in a new 17-storey tower in the Merrion Centre.

“Additionally, there has been a shift in the focus of new office accommodation towards the west side of the city centre to areas such as Wellington Place. There remains a significant amount of committed or newly completed office floorspace elsewhere within the city centre, together with older office stock nearby.”

It follows other plans in the area for high-rise student properties, with the neighbouring 37-storey Hume House currently being constructed.

The report continues: “What was for many years an office-focused area, around the mixed-use Merrion Centre, is presently undergoing a rapid change to a largely residential one comprising a mix of private rental and student apartments.”

The plans will be heard at Leeds City Council’s city plans panel on Thursday, June 6.

As the plans are currently only at pre-application stage, a more detailed plan is expected to be submitted in the coming months.