CDL expands into UK rental property with $28m buy of Leeds site

An artist's impression of CDL's Monk Bridge development in Leeds, which is expected to be completed in 2023.
An artist's impression of CDL's Monk Bridge development in Leeds, which is expected to be completed in 2023.PHOTO: CITY DEVELOPMENTS

Property group City Developments Limited (CDL) has acquired a £15.4 million (S$27.5 million) freehold site in the northern English city of Leeds.

The firm plans to develop a 664-unit build-to-rent residential project with retail space within the site's heritage arches beneath a viaduct.

CDL said the project is expected to be completed in 2023, with total development costs estimated at £140 million and net yield expected at 5 per cent annually.

The site at Monk Bridge is about a 10-minute walk to the main train station and two kilometres to the city centre.

Leeds is Britain's third largest city and about two hours from London by train.

The price translates to about £80, or $142 per sq ft, for the 193,752 sq ft site.

Full planning permission has been obtained for the plot, which has a residential net lettable area (NLA) of 386,000 sq ft, and a commercial NLA of about 16,000 sq ft, CDL said.

It noted in a statement yesterday: "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 train station and city centre."

Group chief executive Sherman Kwek added: "Expanding into the UK private rented sector is in line with our strategy to grow recurring income. Due to increased labour mobility and the growing popularity of renting, we see strong growth potential for this sector.

"Brexit is expected to have limited impact on this sector as demand is mainly driven by locals."

CDL shares closed down 1.23 per cent at $8.81 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'CDL expands into UK rental property with $28m buy of Leeds site'. Print Edition | Subscribe