Leeds-based developer, Priestley Homes, has acquired a prominent student accommodation scheme in the heart of Lancaster in a deal worth £6.5m – the firm’s largest value land purchase to date.

Located on Cable Street, the part-complete student development comprises a Grade-II listed, three-storey building (5 Cable Street), alongside a new-build five-storey accommodation block providing 89 student apartments at the rear.

The developer, which is part of the Priestley Group, has appointed sister company, Priestley Construction, to finish the 19,217 sq. ft. new-build element, ready for the start of 2021/22 academic year in September. The contractor will also undertake a sympathetic conversion of 5 Cable Street.

The ground and first floor of the conversion will be designed to provide a high-quality common room arranged over two levels, creating a social hub for residents, as well as ancillary facilities.

It will link through to the new-build studio accommodation via a glass link, with each studio benefiting from high-end fitted furniture and kitchen, plus en-suite pod bathrooms.

Priestley Homes specialises in the regeneration of historic buildings, with several award-winning, high-specification residential schemes across the North of England and London.

The company has a strong track record of delivering high-quality and fully managed student accommodation, including The Grand Mill in Bradford, a development of 67 student apartments, and Rivermill Court, comprising 27 luxury student apartments in Leeds.

Nathan Priestley, chief executive officer of the Priestley Group, said: “We are a Yorkshire business with big ambitions. Cable Street is our largest value single acquisition to date; it is a great addition to our growing portfolio.

“Our talented construction team will complete the apartments to our industry-renowned high standards and transform the Grade-II listed building into a striking, modern communal area for students to enjoy.

“The market is robust, and this is one of several high value purchases we have secured during the coronavirus period, with no signs of slowing. We are committed to breathing life into historic buildings and undertaking new-build projects with efficiency and quality. To meet this commitment, we have our eye firmly on acquisitions in other key cities as we move into 2021, working with Priestley Construction to bring the developments to life.”

Lancaster is home to two internationally-renowned higher education institutions – Lancaster University and The University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus – bringing almost 19,000 students to the area.

Situated in the heart of the city centre, Cable Street will provide easy access to amenities, including shops, bars, restaurants, and nightlife.

The city’s main bus station sits directly opposite, with connections to Lancaster University every five minutes on weekdays.

There are also two off-road cycling routes to the university, including one from the city centre along the Lancaster Canal taking around 13 minutes. The University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus is approximately 15 minutes’ walk to the east of the accommodation.

Nearby Lancaster railway station provides direct links to Manchester, Glasgow, and London, in under three hours.