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Fourth time lucky for doomed CASPAR site?

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Carey Jones Architects has become the latest practice to submit plans to replace the derelict CASPAR pre-fab housing scheme in Leeds

The original development, designed by Levitt Bernstein and completed in 2000, was evacuated four years ago, after the discovery of ‘potentially catastrophic structural problems’.

Leeds-based practice Architecture2B then had two attempts at drawing up replacements plans – the final scheme for the North Street site winning approval in December in 2007. These proposals were scuppered when project backers Life Homes went into administration.

The Manor Property Group has snapped up the plot and asked Carey Jones to draw up plans for 600 new student apartments. The £30 million Manor Point scheme features a 35-storey tower block and, if approved, could be ‘ready for letting’ by the beginning of the 2012 academic year.

Commercial law firm Lupton Fawcett and residential property agents Titchmarsh & Co secured the site for Manor from the administrators of Life Homes.

Chris Waterhouse, director in the property services group at Lupton Fawcett, said: ‘The land has been acquired from the administrators/funders of Life Homes, which had intended to redevelop the site of the original CASPAR (City Centre Apartments for Single People at Affordable Rents) scheme that was built over nine years ago by a Japanese company, but was subsequently evacuated after fears it could collapse in high winds.

‘The acquisition by Manor will enable these dangerous and dilapidated buildings to finally be demolished and replaced by a scheme which will transform the area for the better, subject to planning permission.’

Factfile

Levitt Bernstein’s original 46-home building was hailed as a ‘pioneering’ exemplar of affordable housing when first built (AJ 10.08.00), but has been empty since being evacuated after high winds in 2005.

An investigation by Arup revealed an ‘identifiable chance‘ that the £3 million, timber-framed building could collapse in strong winds, which meant none of the tenants were ever allowed back into the Kajima-built flats.

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