Regeneration of Leeds City Centre Brings Investment Prospects
Leeds is undergoing a major transformation with regeneration projects being proposed in many different areas.
Capitalizing on the popularity of the city as an attractive area for young professionals to get on the property ladder, the regeneration plans will continue to bring in people who have become disenchanted with the prices of properties in London and the South East.
Major Facelift Proposed
The area surrounding New Briggate and the Grand Theatre is a historically important, yet run down part of the city. Dating back to the 17th century, this area was considered the heart of Leeds and might be completely transformed if recent proposals are accepted.
Leeds City Council is submitting an application for the Townscape Heritage Programme, run by the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, it will be used to revamp the retail area around the Grand Theatre.
The Grand Quarter
Initially developed in the 17th century by John Harrison, and further altered in the 19th century to become a leading cultural and commercial area of Leeds, the ‘Grand Quarter’ features various listed buildings.
These include the Grade 1 listed St John’s church and the Grade II listed Grand Arcade, which was designed and built in 1897. More recently, the area was allowed to decline due to under investment in commercial properties and by planning being dominated by vehicle access.
Transformation of Historic Buildings
Only 17% of the buildings are currently considered to be in good condition. The scheme looks to transform the area by matching funding from property owners and the HLF contribution to public area improvements.
This will also link in with the huge successes already enjoyed by the ‘Re-Making Leeds’ Programme, which is providing training opportunities for young people, and creating jobs in the building industry.
As well as retail and heritage developments, the boom in student housing is continuing in Leeds. London and Scottish Investments (LSSI) have announced that they’re going to expand into the city with proposals for a 17-storey tower block in the city centre.
The tower block, intended for student accommodation, will be built on the site of an ‘80s office block on Belgrave Street. LSSI plans to knock down the office building and replace it with a 17-storey building to house 325 student beds. They also plan amenities such as a gym, outdoor terrace and cinema room.
It’s another clear indication that the move to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has very much reached Leeds, and offers lots of investment opportunities. This proposed project will sit close to St Albans Place, a 376-bedroom building by developer Vita Student, due for completion in 2019.
Mixed Use Projects
Caddick Developments has plans to regenerate part of the city centre with a £300 million project. They want to transform the Quarry Hill site (2.4 hectares) into a cultural centre surrounding the City College, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds College of Music.
Named ‘SoYo’, the plans include two 16-storey residential blocks, intended for private rentals. Also within the plan are offices, a hotel, bars and restaurants, as well as an overhaul of the public spaces. Assuming approval, the developer wants to start the residential part of the project in spring 2018.
The College of Music itself is currently transforming its campus with a £57 million project, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse is going through a £14 million refurb.
Dandara has engaged Interserve to deliver a £70 million project for 744 private rented apartments in Leeds. Consisting of four buildings on the southern side of the city centre, it achieved approval already in March 2015.
The apartments will be studio, one, two and three-bed, surrounded by landscaped ground and an underground purpose-built car park. Construction should complete in June 2019. Interserve is also responsible for constructing three schools in the city, with a combined value of £41 million.
South Bank Regeneration
Leeds City Council recommended a major redevelopment for approval. The regeneration of the old Tetley Brewery site on the South Bank includes 85,000 sq m of office space, 15,000 sq m of food, retail and leisure space, two hotels and 850 homes.
Led by Vastint, the UK arm of the developer has been working alongside the council for two years to get this far. They said that the scheme is a “significant regeneration opportunity” that will create “a large number of new homes, jobs and opportunities for investment”.
This number of high quality redevelopment schemes show exactly how much focus is on Leeds as a city with much to offer property investors, whether commercial, residential, or student housing.