Three council buildings to be sold as part of major modernisation

Leeds, Leeds Star

Three council buildings in Leeds city centre are set to go up for sale as part of a major modernisation of important services.

The Leonardo Building and Thoresby House, both on Rossington Street, along with 2 Great George Street will be vacated and staff moved to the new state-of-the-art hub at Merrion House as the council continues with its ambitious Changing the Workplace project.

The plans, agreed in principle by the council’s executive board in July, will be the next step in transforming the way thousands of council staff work, giving the public more efficient access to important services and saving the authority around £15m.

All three listed buildings will be advertised for sale on the open market, with staff continuing to work there until Merrion House is ready to occupy in 2018.

The council’s city development team is currently housed in the Leonardo Building and Thoresby, with housing officers also working in Thoresby.

Customer services, registrars, and community safety currently work in 2 Great George Street.

The buildings are currently authorised for office use, but could also be suitable for a hotel, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues.

Once staff have relocated from the buildings, the newly refurbished Merrion House will then become the main base in the city centre, with Leeds Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George House also being retained.

The Changing the Workplace project, which aims to reduce the council’s office accommodation needs, has already seen more than 1,600 staff working differently by using mobile technology and flexible work spaces.

Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and strategy, said:

“The refurbishment of Merrion House represents a tremendous opportunity to not only bring some of our key services together under one roof, but also for our staff to work in a more efficient and cost-effective base while raising income from selling buildings to support shrinking budgets.

“Our ambition is to be a modern, 21st Century council which provides the best, most up-to-date service possible for people living in Leeds.

“By relocating staff to a newly-refurbished base we will be putting in place an efficient, robust way of working which will benefit all our customers in the future and save a significant amount of public money at a time when we are facing unprecedented budget pressures.

“This will also be a chance to breathe new life into buildings at the heart of the city centre and make Leeds an even more vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit.”

Once completed, the Merrion House project will include a new six-storey extension that will be home to an integrated one stop centre alongside Leeds City Credit Union and the Volunteer Centre Leeds.

The finished building will also feature a mezzanine and an atrium, meaning more space and natural light in the new one stop centre.Enquiry positions and rooms, self-service points, waiting areas, public toilets and baby change facilities as well as a Changing Places accessible toilet will also be housed in the new building.

The sale of the three existing buildings will also support the council’s commitment to the proposed city centre Innovation District, connecting the research strengths of the universities and Leeds General Infirmary.

More information about the buildings for sale can be found at:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-property-for-sale/property-62570369.html