14 July 2014

Signs that the green shoots of economic recovery are taking root in Leeds have emerged with developers submitting new plans for major city centre schemes.

Property company MEPC has put forward proposals for the next phase of its Wellington Plac

The latest applications come as Land Securities prepares to re-start work on the Trinity scheme bordered by Briggate, Boar Lane, Commercial Street and Albion Street that was put on hold because of the economic downturn.

While acknowledging that activity in the Leeds property market still remained low, a recent council report noted there had been an upturn in pre-application inquiries to the planning department.

MEPC has submitted two applications to the council for two more office blocks to be built at Wellington Place.

Andrew Barlow, managing director for the development, said: "We have submitted planning applications for Number 3 and Number 10 Wellington Place and are building on our success of the first quarter of 2010.

"We feel positive about the future expansion of Wellington Place and our recent £1m investment into the greening of the site demonstrates our commitment to its continued growth and to the city of Leeds."

The company has created community facilities on the site - including a football pitch and allotments - while development work has been on hold.

MEPC recently completed a deal to sell Benson House, which is located on Wellington Street and is occupied by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and law firm Ward Hadaway, to Lancashire County Pension Fund for £20m.

The Eastgate scheme is expected to create 4,000 jobs and Hammerson has reviewed its proposals taking into account the impact of the recession.

According to the company, the review indicated there was a "strong retail appetite for aspirational fashion encompassing youth fashion brands and high street favourites."

The scheme is also expected to include a catering quarter offering a wide range ranging from a quick lunchtime snack to an evening meal.

A public exhibition setting out details of the new scheme is expected in the autumn.

Andrew Hilston, project director, said: "A regeneration project of this scale has the potential to truly transform this part of the city. We are committed to our vision for Eastgate Quarter which will deliver high quality retail space, offices, statement architecture and outstanding public realm."

Leeds has a number of vacant city centre sites awaiting key developments.

They include:

  • Lumiere in Welling Street - preliminary work on two huge glass and steel skyscrapers has been halted because of the slump
  • Leeds International Pool - now demolished and the council is to use the site as a temporary car park. Plans for The Spiracle, a 24-storey residential tower fell victim to the credit crunch
  • Sovereign Street - development plans on hold and the council has discussed the idea of creating a park on the site.

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