Leeds Enterprise Zone attracts burst of Development Activity

Posted on 30 October, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

Hundreds of new jobs are in the pipeline as Leeds’ landmark urban enterprise zone witnesses the start of four major industrial projects — with three more awaiting consent.

Building crane and building under construction against blue sky

Work is already underway on two separate projects for Wilton Developments, expected to produce 80,000 sq ft of employment space between them. The two new units are being built at Thornes Farm — within Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone — and will offer 50,000 and a 30,000 sq ft of modern manufacturing space. The £5m speculative Connex 45 development is scheduled for completion next summer.

Ground work will also start within days on a 178-acre brownfield site at Temple Green, the largest single development plot within the enterprise zone. Aire Valley Land, a partnership between Evans Property Group and Keyland, has permission for a total of 3 million sq ft of manufacturing and distribution facilities on the site in units of up to 500,000 sq ft each.

And construction starts next month on developing an 80,000 sq ft industrial unit at the zone’s Logic Leeds site, where Muse Developments has planning permission for a total of 1.6m sq ft of industrial, property distribution space, offices and hotel accommodation.

Also at Thornes Farm, the city council is considering applications for two bespoke units of 27,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft and a separate submission for a further 20,000 sq ft industrial unit.

The cranking up of enterprise zone development follows the granting by the Government’s Building Foundations for Growth programme of £8.57m to Leeds City Council to enable it to underwrite development risks on the Wilton and Muse schemes.

“The enterprise zone offers unparalleled advantages in terms of its scale, connectivity, its proximity to Leeds city centre and to one of the UK’s biggest concentrations of manufacturing,” explained Richard Lewis, the city authority’s executive member for transport and the economy.

“That is why the council has taken this proactive approach to secure funding in order to accelerate development, stimulate private sector investment and attract growth and jobs to the zone.”

In a parallel jobs boost, this time in the heart of Leeds, Rockspring Property Investment Managers has purchased an under-construction office development at 6 Queen Street. Once completed the six-storey block, being built by contractor and developer Marshall CDP,  is expected to be worth around £30m.

The Grade A office scheme, due for completion by the spring of 2016, will contain floor plates of between 4,000 and 14,000 sq ft with a double height feature reception. There will also be roof terraces and secure basement parking.

“Queen Street is a demonstration of our continued commitment to quality in planning and design,” said Simon Marshall, group managing director at Marshall CDP. “We know just how important this site is for Leeds and we’re proud to be able to say that we have brought major speculative development back to the city centre.”

The Queen Street acquisition is Rockspring’s first investment in Leeds and adds to its portfolio of more than £5.1bn of assets under its management across Europe.

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