Leeds City Council is asking developers and investors to register their interest in one of its most prestigious city centre development opportunities, the 1.12-hectare site of the former Leeds International Pool.
Located in the heart of the city’s business district in the West End, and adjacent to the emerging plans for the Innovation District, the site has the potential to accommodate up to five building plots offering in excess of half a million sq ft of business led space, brought together through significant public realm investment.
One of the most high-profile city centre development sites in the north, the Leeds Lisbon Street site offers a unique opportunity in the UK’s third largest and one of its fastest growing cities.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds is a rapidly growing vibrant city with a powerful and resilient economy at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and one which has worked hard to deliver a 40% growth rate over the past decade.
“To support the growth of our business and visitor economies we need high-quality office space and hotel and leisure facilities, and as part of our ongoing strategic asset management strategy, we are determined to bring the absolute best investors, operators and brands to the city.”
“The Lisbon Street site sits in a prime position amongst many of the city’s top legal, financial and professional services employers, which makes it a hugely desirable development space. It would be ideal for grade A office space and high-end hotel operators looking to cater for this growing professional market and the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the city.”
The authority intends to attract investors interested in pursuing mixed-use development. This might include grade A office, residential, retail, leisure and high-quality hotel space, to service the city’s growing business and visitor economy.
Situated five minutes from Leeds railway station, the busiest in the north of England, it’s within site of the recently completed Central Square development which speculatively brought just over 200,000 sq ft of grade A office space to market in 2016 and is now nearly fully let.
Leeds is gauging developer ambitions for the site as a whole or in separate lots, and is looking for high-quality signature buildings of up to c20 storeys, with the provision of significant public realm extending to nearly 40 % of the footprint, creating a new destination for the West End of the city.
The council is keen to explore how the city can partner with the private sector to bring forward international quality schemes at this site to ensure it is maximising the city’s growth potential, and continues to attract top employers for the city’s significant talent pool.
The announcement is the latest in the continuing development of Leeds city centre, which saw record levels of completions in 2016, and the joint highest levels of new schemes starting since 2007. Over 713,000 sq ft of office space completed with much pre-let, alongside nearly 600,000 sq ft of retail space, more than double Leeds’ annual average.
The Leeds economy is also the third largest in the UK, at around £20.4bn, and is set to experience the fastest growth in private sector jobs according to the Cities Outlook 2015. It welcomes over 26 million visitors every year, worth £1.53 billion to the local economy, and is bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023.
It is estimated that the city, which already boasts 68 hotels providing 6,041 beds, will require an additional 2,500 beds, or 10-15 mid-size hotels, in order to service the uplift in visitor numbers expected, if the bid is successful.