2020 will be another huge year for Leeds, with loads of things to look forward to…
We’ve got a really good feeling about 2020. There are already some great projects in the pipeline, with oodles of new openings to get excited about, but what are you looking forward to the most? We’ve put together a list of ten things that will make 2020 one to remember – but don’t be shy, let us know in the comments what would make your list.
A slew of new openings
So far, we’ve got a list of 16 new openings coming in 2020 – and it hasn’t even started yet. Imagine how many more we’ll have by the time the year is out. There’s a new taproom at a local brewery, a cafe dedicated to donuts and the city’s first ever ramen-centric restaurant. But that just scratches the surface of the exciting new arrivals that are coming our way over the next 12 months, so keep your eyes peeled right here to get the latest info.
The reopening of Howard Assembly Room
BY the end of 2020, we will see the completion of the £18 million redevelopment of Howard Assembly Room. Over the past 18 months, they’ve turned the historic venue into a world-class centre of music that’s fit for the 21st-century. Once it’s reopened, it will host double the number of performances than before and add much-needed facilities like an education hub, a dedicated box office and a bar and restaurant which will open up onto New Briggate.
The transformation of The Headrow
The Headrow is one of the major routes through Leeds city centre and it’s currently getting a £20.7 million makeover. By autumn 2020 vital transport upgrades and huge improvements to the public realm will be completed. The central reservation will be removed, cycle lanes will be added and road layouts will be improved to reduce congestion and increase the reliability of buses. The area will also look better too, as they add everything from new bus shelters to new pedestrian crossings, creating the gateway into the city that Leeds deserves.
The first ever festival of Yorkshire puddings
A world-first will take place on Saturday 1st February 2020. The Ink Events Company are hosting the inaugural Yorkshire Pudding Festival at Leeds Kirkgate Market. A host of street food traders and local foodie institutions will be taking over the Market Kitchen to serve up weird and wonderful combos centred around the humble Yorkshire pud. It’s free to enter, although you will have to pay for the dishes, and there’ll even be a bar set up on the day.
The regeneration of The Majestic
By the end of 2020, The Majestic will reopen, but it’ll look a lot different than it used to. After fire gutted the iconic building, the £40 million redevelopment by Rushbond has given the grade-II listed landmark a new lease of life. The facade has been restored and they’ve built a 7-storey glass structure, complete with a 3-storey atrium, within. 65,000 square foot will be dedicated for office space but the ground floor will be home to a host of food, drink and leisure units the whole city can use.
The resurrection of the First White Cloth Hall
The First White Cloth Hall has had decades of neglect, but the £2 million project to restore it to former glories is well underway. Due to be complete by the end of 2020, the northern elevation facing Kirkgate is being rebuilt and a restored cube-like southern elevation will lead you straight to the Corn Exchange. The central courtyard will be enclosed by a new lightweight glass structure and the original assembly room is being faithfully recreated. Soon, the First White Cloth Hall will have a future to live up to its past.
The arrival of a film and TV studio complex
By the end of 2020, the local film and TV industry will get a huge boost due to the arrival of Leeds Studios. Leeds City Council has joined forces with Versa Studios to create a major film and TV studio complex in the old Polestar Petty warehouses on Whitehall Road. The £1.6 million project will be managed by Kirkstall’s Prime Studios. They will look after 70,000 square foot of space divided across six state-of-the-art facilities which will more than double the amount of existing studios in the city as Channel 4 move in to Leeds.
The new look of Leeds Train Station
The work has been going on for over a year now, but the major improvements to Leeds Train Station are already visible and by the end of 2020, the first phase of the £161 million Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan will be complete. The new roof is in and it has created a lighter, more welcoming concourse. It will be followed in the New Year by a huge glass-fronted entrance, cosmetic upgrades to the station’s leisure units and improvements to the public realm in front of the station.
The long-awaited arrival of the city’s ice rink
Okay, we might’ve said this last year, but now, honestly, it’s finally coming. After 7 years of construction and one big storm that blew it all down, the new ice rink on Elland Road will open in early 2020. Planet Ice will have room for 1,800 people, so get ready to don a pair of blades and circle their enormous ice rink. They’re going to run skating classes and you can even try your hand at ice hockey or ice dancing. When you’re done, head to the bar or grab a bite to eat in the on-site restaurant.
The return of Leeds to the Premier League
Don’t blame us if we jinx it, but the dream that’s been in the minds of Whites’ fans since relegation from the Premier League at the end of 2003-04 is once again starting to look like a real possibility. They’ve been in the automatic promotion places for the majority of the season, so the hunt for the top division is definitely on and they’re in good form. Can Marcelo Bielsa lead them, and us, to glory? Here’s hoping…Cover image credit: The Atkins Consortium