There is no progress without change and the dwellings that have occupied the Quarry Hill area of Leeds city center for the past 250 years are a prime example of this truism. The first houses to be built there in the late 1700s were back-to-back, which quickly became overcrowded slums which were demolished to make way for the sprawling Quarry Hill apartment complex, built by Leeds City Council.
Ready for occupancy in 1938, the scheme was groundbreaking and had 13 steel-framed, concrete-clad blocks with just under 1,000 apartments with all modern comforts, including electric lights and a communal wash house. The council development housed around 3,000 people, making it the largest social housing complex in the UK at the time.
Its architecture and scale were influenced by Karl Marx Court in Vienna, an even larger affordable housing estate built in the modernist style of the 1930s. The much-loved Karl Marx Court still exists, but Quarry Hill was razed to the ground in bulldozer in 1978 due to structural problems and a bad reputation.
While the area has since regenerated into a vibrant cultural quarter occupied by The Playhouse, the headquarters of BBC Yorkshire and the Leeds Conservatory, it took decades for a new residential project to appear, but perhaps that Another saying “the best things come to those who wait” is apt.
Yorkshire-based New York Square by Moda Living is preparing to open and is now taking bookings for 515 rental apartments across two 16-storey towers. Like Quarry Hill, this is a build-to-let scheme, but that’s where the comparison ends. New York Square is a free market rather than social housing, and it is helping to pave the way for a new, much more luxurious and user-friendly way of renting an apartment.
The interiors of this building are very stylish and tenants have access to free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour gym, a common lounge, roof terraces, a cinema room, a room games and coworking spaces. Well behaved pets are also allowed on the basis that they are good for our health. This wealth of amenities comes at a higher price than the average rental apartment. A studio in New York Square costs £950 a month, a one-bed apartment from £1,100 and two beds from £1,500, but people are more than willing to pay for facilities and the ability to make friends in a real community.
“Building community and well-being is at the heart of what we do,” says Johnny Caddick, MD of Moda Living, part of the long-established Caddick Group founded by his father Paul Caddick. Johnny cut his teeth in the industry in 2014 with Angel Gardens in central Manchester, a 36-storey, built-to-let skyscraper with a rooftop sports pitch. Tenants now include everyone from footballers and families to the elderly and young city workers.
Since then he has overseen a rapid expansion of what Moda Living calls its “next generation neighborhoods”, now in Liverpool and Edinburgh and with projects in London, Glasgow, Brighton, Birmingham and York set to open soon and d others are in preparation. New York Square in Leeds will also be expanded with another apartment building added and the surrounding site in the SOYO area – South of York Road – will soon have a new hotel, offices, restaurants and bars as well as green spaces.
“It all started in 2013 looking at how habits were changing towards renting rather than home ownership due to affordability and we went to North America to look at the build-to-rent market there. , where it is well established,” says Johnny. “We brought back ideas and added some of our own.”
Health and wellness is a USP for Moda, which gives residents virtual access to nutritionists, yoga, wellness coaches, and sleep and mental health counselors via an app while the building’s sensors measure sound, light, temperature and humidity to ensure they are at optimal levels.
Moda Living faces competition from a host of other build-to-let schemes in Leeds city centre. However, Johnny Caddick believes there is no shortage of potential tenants of all ages and adds that the high-tech, amenity-rich apartments will help with student retention while attracting new talent and businesses to the area. the city, as well as cafes and restaurants. . He adds: “There has been a massive growth in building to let in Manchester over the last 10 years and it still hasn’t reached saturation point and I think Leeds city center will have a similar trajectory. and the people who live there will be his life-blood.”
This reflects a big societal shift due to lifestyle demands and rising property prices, which is why Moda Living is planning more projects in central Leeds while taking build-to-let to the suburbs with its Casa by Moda brand, which will specialize in family homes nationwide. Visit www.modaliving.com/live/location/leeds
*Please support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on the site, get free access to our app, and receive exclusive member-only offers. Click here to subscribe