Robertson Property is redeveloping St Leonard’s House, a grade II listed building located in the centre of Lancaster, as student accommodation in a £14.4m deal.

The scheme is a redevelopment of a pair of adjoining buildings to form 179 residential student flats split into self-contained studios and en-suite bedrooms.

The development will convert the former council offices to create 179 student accommodation bed spaces and was granted planning and listed building consent in February 2017.

Robertson Property's funding partner, Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM), have forward funded the development under their investment management mandate with Lancashire County Pension Fund, which is part of the pooled LGPS investments managed by Local Pensions Partnership. The property has been forward funded on the basis of a completion value of £14.34m reflecting a net initial yield of 6.0%.


What’s involved?

Initially asbestos removal and soft strip operations will be undertaken to allow surveying of existing structures to be carried out to further develop the design stage of the scheme.


The main works

This involved the removal of the internal structure to the stone building, replacing structural elements with a new steel frame and the installation of new timber floors. The concrete building will be stripped back to structure to allow the remodelling works to commence.

A new floor will be added to both buildings by removing the existing clerestory roof and by adding a light weight steel structure in its place. Included within the fitout works are the construction of specific plant areas, 3no lifts, recreational areas, and several kitchen areas to service clusters of bedrooms.


"The development revitalises this historic building by retaining many of its original features while providing high-quality accommodation that will improve the city's current student accommodation offering."

Elliot Robertson, Chief Operating Officer, Robertson



"Funding for the scheme will be provided by Lancashire County Pension Fund from an allocation it has made for investment in property located in the County of Lancashire.  We are pleased to have the opportunity to regenerate a historic building and provide an important piece of property infrastructure which will further strengthen Lancaster's status as a top UK university town."

John Styles, KFIM

The development will be complete in time for the 2019/20 academic year. This is the first of a number of student accommodation projects that Robertson Property is looking to develop across Scotland and the North of England.

Dougray Smith advised Robertson Group and Bidwells and Colliers were retained as advisors to KFIM. 

Additional information

Lancaster has circa 14,250 full-time students with 11,750 full-time students studying at The University of Lancaster (HESA 2015/16) and a further 2,500 full-time students understood to be studying at the Lancaster campus of The University of Cumbria.  This development addresses the need for further high-quality purpose-built student accommodation, with just 681 purpose-built bed spaces currently offered by the private sector in the city.


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