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9 December 2019

Robertson and Knight Frank Investment Management complete work on grade II listed Lancaster student accommodation

Robertson and Knight Frank Investment Management complete work on grade II listed Lancaster student accommodation

Robertson Property and Robertson North West, with funding arranged by Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM) on behalf of Lancashire County Pension Fund (LCPF), have completed the redevelopment of St Leonard’s House, a grade II listed building located in the centre of Lancaster.

KFIM acquired the site for LCPF in 2017 and arranged a funding agreement with Robertson Property who obtained planning and listed building consent and procured the re-development of the listed buildings with their sister company, Robertson North West. The capital comes from a specific allocation made by LCPF for investment in property projects located in the County of Lancashire.

In January 2019 KFIM engaged specialist manager Homes for Students pursuant to a public tender to market and manage the property.

The buildings are located alongside the Canal Quarter on the edge of Lancaster City Centre. They were originally constructed by the prominent Gillow family for the manufacture of furniture but had fallen vacant after they became surplus to the requirements of the then owner, Lancaster City Council in 2014.

The project brings these historically significant buildings back into use which will provide high-quality student accommodation for the students of Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria.

The development provides a combination of self-contained studios and en-suite cluster accommodation, along with extensive communal facilities including a communal kitchen, recreational area and a gym and has been built at a total cost in excess of £14m.

Some 21,790 students were enrolled at the University of Lancaster and the University of Cumbria for academic year 2017/18 (Source: HESA statistics) and the University of Lancaster is ranked 6th in the UK in the Times Good University Guide 2019.

David Westwater of Robertson Property said, "Having purchased the site in 2017, and forward sold to Lancashire County Pension Fund, we are delighted to have worked with Robertson North West, Robertson Engineering Services and KFiM to complete this high-quality development. Together, we have brought this once disused historic building back to life and provided much-needed student accommodation in Lancaster. This project highlights how Robertson can operate as a full-service solutions provider across both property management and construction and deliver a high-class facility."

John Styles of KFIM said, "Lancashire County Pension Fund has an allocation of capital for investment in property located in the County of Lancashire. This project was an ideal fit for the Investment Objectives providing an attractive return for the pension fund but also a valuable addition to Lancaster's student accommodation offer that will further strengthen the City's status as a top destination for higher education and will complement other significant investment projects that the University is progressing. We continue to actively seek other opportunities to invest in Lancaster and in the County more widely."

Commenting on the completion, Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director of Robertson North West said: "We are proud to deliver a building that will provide the best standard of living to students in Lancaster. The new accommodation will enable students to live, socialise, sleep and study in a high-quality facility, enabling them to get the best from their university experience.

"The project has also allowed us to implement our range of capabilities, due to the different technical aspects of the build and we are delighted with the end results."

The property is now letting up through Homes for Students.

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