The largest centre outside London for financial and business services, digital, creative, publishing and broadcasting, Leeds’ history as an industrial city is closely tied to the railways that link it to other centres of British industry and commerce.

One legacy of these railway networks is the stonework viaducts that span the river Aire, which have remained icons of the landscape even though train services have moved onto more modern rail lines.

CDL is transforming one of these landmarks at Monks Bridge into an elevated public green space designed in the style of New York’s famed High Line. High Line is a public space built on a historic elevated freight rail line that has had a transformative effect on the local community.

Marking its expansion into the rapidly-growing UK Private Rented Sector (PRS), CDL has acquired a £15.4 million (approximately $27.5 million) freehold site from Alpha Real Trust. This translates to about £80 (approximately S$142) per square foot for the 193,752 square feet (sq ft) site. This is CDL’s first site in Leeds.

Full planning permission has been obtained for the site which has a residential and commercial Net Lettable Area of around 386,000 sq ft and 16,000 sq ft respectively. CDL plans to develop a 664-unit build-to-rent residential project with retail space located within the site’s attractive heritage arches beneath a viaduct. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Strategically located at Monk Bridge in Leeds, the site is about a 10-minute walk to the Leeds Train Station and two kilometres to the Leeds City Centre which comprises the financial, civic, shopping and cultural quarters.
CDL will create a vibrant and stylish estate where a public park will be developed on the viaduct, providing spaces for public functions, outdoor film screenings, pop-up restaurants and a pedestrian walkway leading to the Leeds Train Station and Leeds City Centre. Residents will enjoy private gardens, a sports area within the estate, leisure and retail facilities at their doorstep, and a wide range of services including concierge, parcel collection and a car sharing rental scheme.

Tapping the UK Private Rented Sector’s strong growth potential
Expanding into the UK PRS is in line with CDL’s strategy to grow its recurring income. Due to increased labour mobility and the growing popularity of renting, CDL sees strong growth potential for this sector. Moreover, the PRS is a key part of the government’s agenda to solve the UK’s housing supply-demand imbalance.

Mr Sherman Kwek, Group Chief Executive Officer of CDL, said, “We are excited to introduce our first PRS project in Leeds whose economy has continued to grow strongly. PRS demand there is fuelled by a wide spectrum of tenants including young professionals and students.”

“With the increased appetite for purpose-built accommodation that is professionally managed, we are leveraging our core expertise as a residential developer and landlord to expand into this sector for long-term rental growth. CDL will create an iconic estate in Leeds and seek further opportunities to build a portfolio of quality PRS projects.”