Three grade-II listed buildings in Leeds city centre are set to be transformed in the coming years.
Leeds City Council have announced the sale of three office blocks to Idé Real Estate, specialists in mixed-use developments. They will take over the Leonardo, Thoresby and Great George Street buildings, as Leeds City Council reduces the number of offices it has in the city, taking it from 17 down to just four. This consolidation has allowed for a bright new start for these three historic buildings.
All were once part of the City of Leeds High School in the mid-20th century. The Great George Street building was built in 1890 for that purpose, but the other two followed in 1900, and originally, the Leonardo was a printing works and the Thoresby was a teaching college. They were taken over by Leeds City Council who added the unique extension of the Leonardo, blending modern architecture with old, an eye-catching detail.
The City of Leeds High School on Great George Street will be turned into a brand new hotel. The existing building, with its rooftop extension, will feature 140 hotel rooms, and there are plans to construct a new extension where the car park is right now, to add another 200. The Leonardo and Thoresby buildings will be brought together as Idé Real Estate prepare to refurbish the duo into 53,000 square foot of premium serviced office space.
Rohan Faherty, CEO at Idé Real Estate, explained their plans for the future of the buildings, “Our vision for the scheme was to deliver high-quality, desirable and distinguished developments that match the location, history and significance of the buildings, with the future requirements and ambitions of one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. Sitting in the business and civic quarters of the city, and also in the newly planned Innovation District, and the First Direct Arena, the complex is ideally located for business occupiers and visitors alike. We look forward to sharing the future development plans as they progress.”
There are plans to turn the area into the Leeds Innovation District, stretching from the University of Leeds down to Leeds College of Art’s city centre base. The aim for the LID is to bring together some of Leeds’ most creative and innovative institutions and attract new research facilities.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, explained the buildings’ impact on those plans, “We are delighted to announce Idé as the preferred purchaser for the site. The plans they have brought forward perfectly matched the aspirations of the city and the requirements of a gateway site to the Innovation District. These buildings occupy key city centre sites and it’s vital that they are developed in a strategic way, to continue to stimulate the city’s economy and enhance services for the people of Leeds.”
Whatever comes of the Leeds Innovation District, it’s great to see historic, grade-II listed buildings given the chance for a new lease of life – long may that continue.