These groundbreaking projects could have a big impact on Leeds…
The Leeds skyline is changing. Right now, a string of new development and regeneration projects are underway that will change the city as we know it. But you may not even know about them. So we’ve rounded up 10 of the most exciting things going on behind the hoardings – find out what’s in the pipeline for Leeds as the city continues to grow.
It began with a new name, but that’s not the only thing that’s changing. The ball is now rolling on redevelopment of Leeds Playhouse. The renowned theatre is getting a much-needed revamp, its first since it relocated to its current site in 1990 – and it’s going to cost a cool £15.8 million.
The Playhouse Project will create a new forward-facing entrance, better accessibility for disabled customers and a new 100-seat studio theatre called the Bramall Rock Void, which will be used for developing new artists and for their Creative Engagement programme. When it reopens, it’ll have a new restaurant and bar, as well as increased capacity in their existing Courtyard and Quarry Theatres. While all this work is going on, you’ll still be able to catch their shows, with a pop-up theatre on-site.
The Leeds Playhouse is due for completion in mid-2019.
First White Cloth Hall
It’s been a long time coming, but First White Cloth Hall will soon be a vital part of Leeds again. Work has begun on a £2 million restoration project that will transform the former hub for commerce into a modern landmark. After years of neglect, the west wing had to be demolished in 2011, but now it will be restored.
Owners Rushbond have teamed up with restoration architects Buttress to create a new future for the building, but one that still stays true to its past. The designs include a rebuilt northern elevation on Kirkgate and a new cube-like southern elevation which leads you out to Leeds Corn Exchange, creating a new shortcut between the two landmarks. They’re also recreating the original assembly room space and adding a new central courtyard, which will be enclosed by a lightweight glass structure.
First White Cloth Hall is due for completion in 2020.
Leeds City College Campus
The new £57 million Leeds City College campus is going to give education in Leeds its biggest boost in years. The massive 11-storey Quarry Hill development will help transform their offering across vital courses like Digital, Creative Arts and Health Sciences.
Students will soon benefit from a host of state-of-the-art facilities. The complex was designed to be a high-tech, game-changing base for the next generation and it will continue to push Leeds forward as a digital powerhouse. Expect the usual seminar rooms and lecture theatres, alongside a specialist childcare training centre, a suite of science, computing and digital technology labs and a new arts performance centre which will be used by Leeds College of Music.
Leeds City College Campus is due for completion in June 2019.
Nexus is a groundbreaking new innovation and enterprise centre in the heart of the University of Leeds and it’s going to help drive growth for Leeds in business, science and finance. The idea is to create a space for academics and businesses to work together to solve big problems that will impact on the wider world.
The project broke ground in 2017 and their state-of-the-art space will open in Autumn 2018. It will provide the tools for the brightest minds from the UK and beyond to work on problem-solving, idea generation and co-operation. Spread across 6 floors, it’s home to a 120-seat lecture theatre, 12 labs, 12 meeting rooms, 4 seminar rooms and 60 office spaces. There’s also space for a cafe, a business incubator, an exhibition space and lounge – it’s got everything in one place.
Nexus is due for completion in Autumn 2018.
It’s been a trying few years for The Majestic, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel for one of the city’s most iconic buildings as it’s set to become a top-class office space. After laying empty for a decade and then being ravaged by fire in 2015, the £40 million project to bring it back to life is now underway.
Owners Rushbond are working with construction company Sir Robert McAlpine to transform the shell into one of the most desirable workplaces in Leeds. The end result will be a 7-storey glass structure within the old facade that goes up and out of the building. It’ll have a 3-storey atrium which you’ll be able to look up through to see the crown roof, a nod to the original building.
The Majestic is due for completion by the end of 2019.
Emerald Headingley Stadium
The Emerald Headingley Stadium is undergoing one of the biggest redevelopment projects in its 128-year history. The £40 million renovation is one of the most exciting projects currently taking place in Leeds.
They’re removing the 90-year-old shared stand between the cricket and rugby stadiums. It’ll be replaced by a new stand with 4,200 seats for cricket on one side, and 3,800 seats for rugby on the other. There’s also going to be a new South Stand at the rugby stadium for 7,700 spectators. Why is it so important? It will secure Leeds’ place as a major sporting venue for both sports for the foreseeable future – the 2019 Cricket World Cup and 2021 Rugby League World Cup are already making Headingley a venue. Here’s to more in the future.
Emerald Headingley Stadium is due for completion in 2019.
The Climate Innovation District
Leeds will soon be home to one of the UK’s most eco-friendly housing developments. The Climate Innovation District is a sustainable community created by developers Citu and it brings together energy-efficient technology and clever Scandinavian design to help change the way we live in cities.
These are the first houses built in Leeds city centre for 90 years, but if that’s not groundbreaking enough, let’s look at the innovation. They’ve fitted the development with solar panels to create their own supply of green energy, used timber frames to lock away carbon dioxide and installed a Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery System to minimise heat loss. Not only are these homes eco-friendly, they’re beautifully designed too. Expect bright, spacious properties with floor-to-ceiling windows, light wells, roof terraces and waterfront views.
The Climate Innovation District is due for completion in 2019.
St George’s Crypt Flats
St George’s Crypt do incredible work for the city’s homeless and poor, and they’re taking their responsibilities even further in the coming years thanks to the construction of a new apartment block in the centre of Hyde Park.
Work has started on 14 flats on Regent Terrace that will be reserved solely for homeless people. They’ll only be given to people who’ve shown a real commitment to improving their lives. They’ve already demolished an old house on the site, and are now constructing a block of studio and one bedroom flats, which should be available by next summer. This will be the first of a series of similar projects across Leeds – they’ve already earmarked the site of the Old Liberal Club in Wortley for their next block.
St George’s Crypt Flats are due for completion in Summer 2019.
The former British Gas Northern HQ was demolished in 2017 to make way for a new hotel and apartment complex on Bridge Street. The only thing that remains is the old office block, which will be transformed into a 182-bed Hampton by Hilton hotel.
The space they’ve cleared around the hotel will be filled with five new towers, which will soon be home to 843 apartments, as well as a series of bars, cafes and restaurants. It will help transform this part of the city centre and add to the city’s ever-growing skyline. The biggest of those towers will become the tallest building in Leeds – at 430 foot, it will eclipse Bridgewater Place’s 367 feet.
Bridge Street is due to be completed in 2020.
Wellington Place Government Hub
This one’s a biggie. Wellington Place has been chosen for the Government’s new regional Hub. They’re currently building two custom-designed buildings at 7 and 8 Wellington Place – once complete, they’ll create 378,000 square-foot of office space for HM Revenue and Customs and NHS Direct.
This state-of-the-art facility is going to be massive for Leeds. Not only is it the biggest ever commercial property letting in the city’s history, but it’s going to give a big boost to the city’s economy. HMRC are bringing 6,000 civil service jobs to Leeds, and NHS Digital are moving their offices into the same complex. It proves, if there was any doubt, that Leeds is a thriving city that big businesses and even the government wants to be a part of.
Wellington Place Government Hub is due for completion in 2020.