Priestly Homes: Transforming an Abandoned Victorian School in Leeds


priestly homes

The redevelopment of an abandoned former Victorian girls’ school in Leeds is due to be completed by local developer Priestley Homes.

The project, brought to life with funds from property lender Together, will bring 83 luxury new city centre apartments to Great George Street as well as eight stunning ground floor offices with five metre high ceilings.

Each apartment will feature high-spec appliances and fixtures, with an average space of 1,100 sq ft. Residents will have on-site concierge services, an exclusive gym and a landscaped communal rooftop garden, boasting panoramic city centre views and generous seating areas.

The development will also feature four impressive penthouse apartments.

Each of the 3,000 sq. ft. homes will be finished to the highest standard, offering excellent city views, large windows including floor to ceiling glazing throughout, a private roof garden with hot tub, steam room, plus an indoor and outdoor kitchen bar area.

Priestley Homes – a multi-award-winning developer which specialises in the regeneration of historic buildings to the highest standards of living – put in a planning application for the project in 2021.

Initially a Victorian girl’s school, the property was previously used by the local council as office space.

In 2018, plans were submitted to convert the site into a 173-bed hotel, but these were never finalised. Sadly, for three years the site then sat empty and abandoned.

Research from Together has revealed that a worrying 1.55m residential homes stand empty in England and Wales, which could deliver over £500bn value if redeveloped and planning eased.

Leeds local authority was listed as having the seventh highest volume of vacant homes, with over 18,000 standing empty.

Nathan Priestley, CEO of Priestley Group, explained that central Leeds was “crying out for developments like this”.

He said: “As a Leeds-based business, we have a good understanding of the needs and demands of the city.

We have seen a boom in student housing projects across the area, and whilst these are important to address the country’s shortage, they are not the only sector that needs attention.

High-end developments, like ours on Great George Street, are severely lacking. As more people work outside of the capital, either remotely or commuting just a couple of days a week, there is big demand for housing of this kind.

Most of the flats sold incredibly quickly, which shows the appetite is there for developments like this.

It is a travesty that a building with so much potential like this on Great George Street was left empty for years before we came along.”

Together’s research showed that over three quarters of respondents (77%) who have abandoned or derelict buildings in their local city agreed that redeveloping these sites would revitalise the local community and create more jobs, with 67% feeling the spaces are a waste of valuable land and development potential.

“Up and down the UK, there are numerous similar properties in the same state.

The success of this development gives us faith in the work we are doing, and we are excited to take on more similar projects in the future.

It has been brilliant to partner again with Together on this project.

They have been working hard to raise awareness of the issue across the UK of abandoned and disused properties standing empty.

We are pleased to be playing a part in addressing this, and hope our success goes some way to improving our local communities.”

Elliot Vure, director of corporate sales at Together said:

“Our new research has shown the shocking number of properties across the county that are currently empty and unused.

To see Priestley taking advantage of a beautiful, historic building like this one on Great George Street is excellent, and demonstrates the value to developers who embrace projects like this.

Our campaign to encourage developers to seek out ‘hidden gems’ has highlighted the value that can be found through them, and this development – as well as the other projects that Priestley specialises in – is the perfect example.

It’s something we hope to continue supporting them and other developers with into the future.”