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What is South Bank Leeds?

South Bank Leeds, a remarkable regeneration endeavour, is set to redefine the landscape of the city and elevate its status on the global stage. With a visionary plan to double the size of Leeds city centre, this ambitious project aims to rejuvenate the ex-industrial area south of the River Aire, covering an expansive 253-hectare space equivalent to 350 football pitches. The goal is to create a world-class destination that seamlessly integrates living, learning, creativity, leisure, and investment opportunities.

In this article, we delve into the transformative South Bank project and its implications for the thriving city of Leeds. We will explore the key investments that are reshaping the landscape, paving the way for a more vibrant and prosperous future. Additionally, we will uncover how this visionary project enhances connectivity across the city, creating a cohesive urban environment that fosters growth and inclusivity.

Read on to uncover the vision and potential behind the South Bank Leeds project, and witness the transformation of this ex-industrial area into a globally distinctive and thriving destination.

Where is South Bank Leeds Located?

Located south of the River Aire, the South Bank Leeds regeneration project encompasses a significant area with a rich historical heritage. The project focuses on revitalizing the former industrial lands and breathing new life into the area. At the heart of this transformation lies the Holbeck district, known for its industrial prowess and storied past.

In the 19th century, Holbeck stood as a thriving industrial hub, bustling with factories, warehouses, and a tightly-knit community. However, the passage of time left its mark, and many of the once-vibrant structures fell into disuse. Today, these abandoned buildings and warehouses stand as remnants of the area’s industrial legacy.

The South Bank project aims to reclaim and revive the Holbeck area, fostering a seamless connection between the historic suburbs and the bustling Leeds City Centre. By bridging the gap and creating a harmonious whole, the regeneration initiative seeks to restore the sense of community and heritage that once thrived within these neighborhoods.

By breathing new life into the abandoned structures and reimagining the urban space, South Bank Leeds seeks to create an iconic destination that celebrates the city’s history while embracing its future. As the project unfolds, it promises to redefine the narrative of South Bank, establishing it as a thriving, sustainable, and interconnected part of Leeds.

South Bank Leeds: One of Europe’s Biggest Regeneration Programmes

As Leeds continues its expansion southward, the South Bank region emerges as a prominent and transformative force within the city. Positioned as one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe, the ambitious South Bank initiative will make an indelible mark on the landscape, propelled by a staggering £500 million investment — a record-breaking level of funding.

The scale of the project is awe-inspiring, with the aim to effectively double the size of Leeds city centre. The development plans encompass a wide range of facets. Including the creation of 8,000 new homes and the generation of 35,000 new job opportunities. Such ambitious targets underscore the intention to position Leeds as a standout city within the UK.

The development of the South Bank region goes beyond mere physical expansion. It signifies a strategic vision to create a thriving hub of activity that caters to the diverse needs and aspirations of residents, businesses, and visitors. The infusion of 8,000 new homes will not only address the pressing demand for housing but also contribute to the creation of vibrant communities. These homes will be thoughtfully designed, incorporating modern amenities and sustainable features to enhance the quality of life for residents.

In addition to residential developments, the South Bank initiative places great emphasis on job creation. The projected 35,000 new jobs will inject vitality into the local economy and provide opportunities for employment across various sectors.

Beyond its economic impact, the South Bank project seeks to redefine the urban experience. The vision extends beyond the mere construction of buildings, as it encompasses the creation of vibrant public spaces, cultural amenities, and enhanced connectivity. The project also emphasizes the preservation and integration of historical elements, ensuring that the rich heritage of the area is celebrated and woven into the fabric of the new developments.

Leeds South Bank Regeneration

What are the key South Bank Initiatives Over the Next Decade?

Over the next 10 years a number of projects are in place and set to transform the South Bank area:

Holbeck Portfolio Sites

The Holbeck Portfolio Sites, acquired by the Commercial Estate Group, hold significant potential for the ongoing transformation of the South Bank area. Located within Holbeck Urban Village, these seven plots offer a prime opportunity for the development of a dynamic mixed-use project. The vision for this strategic location includes a diverse range of offerings, such as residential apartments, office spaces, and commercial facilities, all aimed at enhancing the overall appeal and functionality of the area.

By capitalizing on the strategic location and leveraging the potential of these plots, the Commercial Estate Group aims to create a mixed-use development that adds value to the community, enhances the urban fabric, and contributes to the overall success of the South Bank regeneration project.

The Historic Hunslet and Victoria Mills

The historic Hunslet Mill and Victoria Mills stand as iconic reminders of Leeds’ industrial past. These red brick mill buildings, once bustling with the activity of flax-spinning, are now undergoing a remarkable transformation as part of the Victoria Riverside development. After decades of neglect, the restoration and conversion of Hunslet Mill and Victoria Mills are breathing new life into these architectural gems.

The ongoing work to repair and revitalize Hunslet Mill and Victoria Mills is a testament to the commitment to preserving the city’s heritage while embracing modern living. The development plans encompass the creation of 350 apartments, carefully designed to provide a range of living options. With a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, residents will have the opportunity to enjoy spacious and contemporary living spaces, all while being treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Leeds skyline.

Vastint’s Mixed-Use Development 

Vastint, a prominent real estate developer, has made a significant investment in the South Bank region of Leeds by acquiring 8.1 hectares of land, including the renowned Tetley Brewery site. With a commitment to sustainable and innovative development, Vastint has submitted proposals that aim to transform this 22-acre site into a vibrant mixed-use destination that caters to the needs of the community and enhances the overall appeal of the South Bank area.

Central to Vastint’s vision for the Tetley Brewery site is the creation of a City Park, a green oasis amidst the urban landscape. This park will serve as a focal point for residents and visitors alike, offering a space for relaxation, recreation, and community gatherings. In addition to the City Park, Vastint’s proposals for the Tetley Brewery site include a diverse mix of residential, commercial, and leisure spaces. The development aims to provide places to work, live, and visit, fostering a sense of community and creating a vibrant atmosphere within the South Bank region.

Tower Works 

Tower Works is a Grade II listed site, which has been a prominent part of Leeds’ skyline for over a century. Built in the 1860s, the site was originally used for the production of pins and later became a major centre for the production of steel pins and wires. After falling into disuse in the 1980s, the site remained derelict for many years. However, in recent years, the site has been redeveloped to provide high-quality office and residential space.

The Tower Works redevelopment project includes the restoration of the original buildings and the addition of new buildings to create a mixed-use development. The site will feature a range of residential and commercial spaces, including one, two and three-bedroom apartments to rent, as well as offices and retail space. The development will also include public spaces, including a new courtyard and improved pedestrian and cycle routes.

Climate Innovation District

The Climate Innovation District in Leeds is a pioneering development that aims to set new standards in sustainable living. As part of the South Bank Leeds regeneration plans, the district is designed to be a vibrant and eco-friendly community, integrating cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices.

Developed by Citu, a renowned sustainable developer, the district prioritizes low-carbon living by incorporating innovative features such as energy-efficient design, renewable energy sources, and smart home technologies. The district offers a diverse range of housing options to suit different lifestyles and preferences. This includes a mix of apartments and spacious townhouses, providing options for individuals, couples, and families.

In addition to residential spaces, the Climate Innovation District also includes manufacturing facilities, leisure destinations, and office spaces. This creates a dynamic and integrated community where residents can live, work, and play, all within a sustainable and environmentally conscious setting.

The release of a new wave of properties for purchase in early 2022 demonstrates the ongoing progress and demand for the Climate Innovation District. By choosing to invest in this development, buyers not only benefit from a high-quality home but also contribute to the vision of a greener and more sustainable future for Leeds and beyond.

Leeds Dock

Leeds Dock is a vibrant and thriving waterfront development that has become a key part of Leeds’ ongoing transformation. With significant investment and development plans, the area has attracted a diverse range of businesses, particularly in the media, digital, and creative sectors.

In addition to the business aspect, Leeds Dock offers a unique lifestyle experience. The development boasts a mix of residential spaces, stylish apartments with stunning waterfront views, and a range of amenities that cater to the needs of its residents. The retail and leisure offerings are set to be upgraded, enhancing the overall experience and making Leeds Dock a desirable place to live, work, and play.

The location of Leeds Dock is also highly advantageous. Situated on the waterfront, it provides a picturesque setting with scenic views of the canal and surrounding green spaces. Furthermore, its proximity to Leeds city center ensures easy access to a wide range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, cultural venues, and transportation links.

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What’s on Leeds South Bank?

Business Headquarters

Leeds South Bank is currency home to a number of UK headquarters. This includes ASDA, True North, Bloom Media and Elmwood, as well as regional headquarters of businesses like Eversheds, Ernst & Young and DWF.

Cultural Attractions

Leeds South Bank is the location of a number of popular cultural attractions. Some of these include, for instance, the Royal Armouries Museum and The Tetley. Which is a new centre for contemporary art and learning. The area is a rapidly growing hub for the city’s creative, digital and tech industries.

Sky Gardens

One of the most notable South Bank Projects is, of course,  Sky Gardens. To clarify, a 32-story, 101-metre high building set to dominate the skyline on Leeds’ South Bank. Due to open in 2024, Sky Gardens will become one of the tallest buildings in Yorkshire and the residential tower will offer the first all-year-round rooftop sky garden in Leeds with 360° views of the city. 

The development is being built on the original Midland Mills location, the previous site of a 200-year-old flax mill, a Grade II listed building. House prices in Leeds are predicted to rise 28 per cent by 2024 and Leeds is tipped to be one of the top cities for house price growth in the UK.

South Bank Leeds - The Inner Ring Road

Key Areas of the Leeds South Bank project

The regeneration strategy for Leeds South Bank includes movement and connection as one of the major themes. Alongside open space provision, a green city centre park, a city boulevard, station design and land use and massing. Movement and connection aims to ensure South Bank’s easy connection to the rest of Leeds and further afield and includes:

1. Connecting the Green and Blue Network

By placing the River Aire as a new centre of Leeds, more people will benefit from access to a new, green network. The riverbank will be open and accessible. As a result, it will become a leisure destination for people of all ages to enjoy. Meanwhile, the plan is to use best practices in sustainable design.

2. Accessible Public Transport Network

Leeds South Bank will prioritise public transport towards providing access to all areas of the city. This is supported by a safe, comfortable and attractive pedestrian core spanning the river, which will complement the existing Public Transport Box.

3. A Rationalised and Distributed Road Hierarchy

Traffic will focus on moving around the city centre rather than through it. In the same way, the Inner Ring Road will have the greatest volume of traffic. Whereas a proposed City Boulevard will accommodate slower-moving vehicles. With the purpose of prioritising pedestrians and cyclists in a pleasant and safe environment.

4. South Bank Leeds – The Inner Ring Road

Improved links across the Inner Ring Road between South Bank and the neighbourhoods such as Holbeck, Beeston, Hunslet, Cross Green and Saxton Gardens will, firstly, allow greater freedom of movement. And additionally, better social and cultural integration, and improved access to services and amenities.

5. A Sustainable Public Transport and Parking Strategy

South Bank Leeds, in fact, aims to increase the use of sustainable forms of transport. Mainly through appropriate infrastructure and to ensure development takes place in locations that are easily accessible by a variety of sustainable transport modes.

Roberts Wharf, South Bank Leeds

Image credit: David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0) via

6. Activate the Waterfront

Leeds South Bank recaptures the waterfront’s role as a focus of activity. Which will, in addition, offer quality public space and new attractions. The strategic green network is connecting surrounding neighbourhoods.

7. Adapt Heritage Buildings

There is an opportunity to strengthen the identity of the South Bank. Above all, through the adaptation and reuse of heritage buildings together with the integration of adjacent assets.

8. Create and Revitalise Centres

Creating a pedestrian core spanning the river will help connect the South Bank to the rest of the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods.

9. Improve resilience and Sustainability

South Bank will include innovative ideas. For example, ideas to mitigate the potential implications of floods, including potential flood channels.

10. Culture and Placemaking

The area will capitalise on the local community’s assets. Such as culture and creativity, and thus, make the South Bank project a vibrant and attractive hub.


To sum up,  as Leeds’ regeneration gets underway, South Bank Leeds is helping transform the centre. That is through a number of proposed investments and activities, many of which are already underway. 

New multi-use developments, public transport, including the road network, walking and cycling routes near the waterfront will be completely transformed. Likewise, the revitalisation of historic buildings with new amenities is bringing in residents and businesses to further boost Leeds’ liveability. To find out more about property investment opportunities in the South Bank, get in touch with our team.

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