August start for £590m Trinity Leeds development

THE UK's biggest landlord Land Securities has revealed that construction work on the £590m Trinity Leeds shopping complex will begin next month bringing an economic boost to the city.

The 750,000 sq ft development will now go ahead after the company successfully pre-let 43% of the scheme while another 4% is in solicitors' hands.

It will have a total of 120 retail units and create employment for up to 1,000 workers during the construction phase and employ an estimated 3,000 retail staff when it opens in Spring 2013.

Trinity Leeds will be anchored by Marks & Spencer, Bhs and Boots and include flagship stores for River Island, TopShop/TopMan, H&M and Next.

It is also expected to be home to numerous international companies and other premier British brands including Holister and Cult - both of which will be new to Leeds.

Land Securities portfolio director Gerald Jennings, said that it is the first major retail-led development in the UK to receive the go-ahead since the credit crunch.

He said: "Having achieved our lettings threshold, we are proceeding with confidence on the construction phase.

"During the temporary pause of on-site activity, our leasing team has been working tirelessly to ensure that we have the right mix of high quality retailers and leisure operators for the prime location that Trinity Leeds occupies.

"Our design team has also been very busy during the pause making further enhancements to the plans, including proposals for an additional roof-top restaurant situated next to Holy Trinity Church which, we believe, will be of mutual benefit to the church and its renowned arts@trinity project.

"The restaurant will provide breathtaking views over the Grade 1 Listed church and also into the heart of our scheme.

"While adding to the stylish café and restaurant quarter we're creating in this area of Leeds - with operators including Carluccio's and YO! Sushi - all of which will help to extend the city's night-time economy."

Leeds City Council leader Councillor Keith Wakefield, said: "This is excellent news for Leeds, both in terms of the jobs being created and the major enhancement that the scheme will bring to the city centre and its shopping and leisure offer.

"With continuing economic uncertainty affecting regional centres across the country, resumption of work on the Trinity Leeds development comes as a timely vote of confidence in our city."

Appointed agents for Trinity Leeds are Central Retail, Cushman and Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle and Shelley Sandzer.

Ian Williams, director of policy at Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is fantastic news for Leeds and something which the business community have been supportive of throughout. It is a massive boost for the city and the local construction industry.

"The development will bring huge economic benefits to Leeds and will help confirm the city's positioning as a leading retail destination.

"With work starting on Trinity Leeds in August and on the Arena in September, it shows that confidence in Leeds is re-emerging. I believe that it is a sign of good things to come."

Lans Securities has also revealed in its first quarter interim management statement that in June, forward sold Park House, in central London, to Barwa for a total consideration of £250m.

Its other London development are "proceeding to programme" while it also achieved £4.6m of development lettings in the period, with a further £3.8m in solicitors' hands.

It also sold the N1 shopping centre in Islington, jointly owned with Delancey, for £111.7m while purchasing the O2 Centre, Finchley Road, in North West London, from the Matterhorn Palos Partnership, for £125.9m.

In May, it also bought a 50% stake in the Westgate Centre, Oxford from The Crown Estate for just over £28m.

Until the end of June, its net borrowings - including joint ventures - amounted to £4,405.6m (March 31, 2010: £4,201m).

In June, the company also took advantage of market conditions to purchase £253.8m of the outstanding £300m bonds due in 2013.

The purchase was funded through drawing bank facilities, thus converting fixed-rate debt into floating rate debt and increasing the flexibility of its borrowings.

The company will also make its first interim dividend payment for the current financial year of 7p per share.

Land Securities has also announced that investment banker Simon Palley will join the board as a non-executive director on 1 August.

Its pre-tax profits for the year ended March 31 fell from £4.8bn for the same period last year to £1bn.

Revenue was £251.8m down 20% from £314.9m. The firm achieved £58m in lettings over the period.


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