At first glance, Wellington Place may look like just other modern office complex, but there’s a lot more to MEPC’s landmark development than meets the eye.
There’s no denying that Wellington Place is one of the most sought after office developments in Leeds. In fact, the 104,000 square foot 6 Wellington Place was let within 4 weeks of completion, and we have a feeling 5 Wellington Place won’t be far behind. Now they’ve broken ground on 3 Wellington Place, which is already attracting significant pre-let interest. So what’s their secret and why are so many world-class businesses choosing to make this their Leeds base? Well, as it turns out, this is no average development…
1. It’s made health & wellbeing a priority
Businesses have a vested interest in keeping their staff happy and healthy. It’s the reason why so many companies build health schemes and gym memberships into their benefits programmes – it’s good for their employees, but it’s also good for business.
9.9 million days were lost to work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 according to independent regulator HSE – but exercise has been proven to be incredibly effective in reducing stress. Not only does it help you clear your mind, improve your mood and aid sleep, it also causes your body to produce feel good endorphins that have a physical effect on your state of mind. In fact, one study showed that people who do regular, vigorous exercise are 25% less likely to develop anxiety or depression over the next 5 years.
But fitting exercise into your day isn’t always easy, especially if you have a demanding job, so Wellington Place have built it into the development itself, giving businesses and their staff access to a range of services designed to promote wellness. For example, did you know that they have a five-a-side football pitch on site? It’s great for team building, and helps to keep employees active too.
That’s not the only way to get your recommended 30 minutes a day though. They also run exercise classes on site, with yoga, pilates and even spin sessions available on your lunch break. Not your bag? Why not take advantage of their free bike hire service and go for a ride along the canal? It’s the perfect way to clear your head on sunny days, with shower facilities back at the office so you can freshen up before you head back to your desk.
For those of you who like to start your day with a traditional gym workout, there are two great choices onsite – Spirit Health & Fitness at the Crown Plaza Hotel with its newly refurbished pool, or L1 Performance, the new state of the art gym that opened this year, complete with a sports medicine clinic, health cafe and our personal favourite – a professional masseuse. Massage on your lunch break, anyone?
The aim here is to give businesses, and their employees, access to a range of services that will improve their work life balance, making them happier and healthier, which should go some way to improving employee retention. And since replacing staff costs British businesses £4.13 billion a year, according to research from financial protection insurers Unum, that could make a real difference.
2. It’s home to the city’s newest park
We’re always after new outdoor spaces in the city centre, and now we have one, as Tower Square officially opened earlier this year. At over an acre, it’s one of the biggest public spaces in Leeds, with the historic Lifting Tower at its heart. Dating back to 1850, it was used to hoist wagons between the viaduct and the ground-level goods yard when the old Central Station was still in use – now it stands today as a lasting reminder of the city’s industrial past.
Tower Square is open to everyone, but it’s particularly good for the development’s residents, who will have a fabulous open space to enjoy on their lunches and after work, not to mention a unique new meeting space – they’ve installed flexible seating and breakout areas outside, with free wifi, so if you want to take your 3 o’clock outside, you can.
It’s not just the park though. Wellington Place also has a community allotment, so people who work here can grow their own fruit and vegetables – imagine tucking into a tasty salad come lunch time, made with your own hand-picked veggies. There’s a fruit tree orchard too, where workers can pick fresh apples, plums and pears – and they even have 50,000 honey bees on-site, with the option for occupiers to get involved in beekeeping lessons. You won’t find that at any other developments in Leeds.
Green space has been proven to help reduce brain fatigue, so the new park, along with the allotments and the fruit tree orchard, are a great way to improve employee productivity, while naturally reducing stress levels – studies have even shown that employees with windows looking out on green spaces have higher job satisfaction and experience less job pressure.
3. It’s not just an office development, it’s a community
Tower Square also hosts events that not only improve the Wellington Place experience, but also bring the companies that are based here together. From street food pop-ups that make lunchtime exciting to markets and community events, they’ve got a busy calendar of events planned.
They’ve got their own choir, led by professional musician, Nic Slack, as well as a knitting club, that gives you the perfect opportunity to get crafty while getting to know your work-neighbours – and they’re always looking for new ways to engage people, be it art lessons, sewing classes or heritage talks.
It’s all part of a larger plan to create a community at Wellington Place – and it’s working. Take their annual barbecue for instance, when they first organised it, only 200 people attended, but last year a massive 2,000 people got involved.
So what does all this have to do with business? It’s simple, social clubs are thought to help reduce stress and improve employee health and wellbeing, so by building them into the development itself, they’re essentially making Wellington Place a better place to work – and that benefits the employers as much as the employees.
But that’s not all, because it also gives businesses the opportunity to mingle with their Wellington Place roomies, helping to nurture new business relationships that otherwise might never have come about – it’s something they’ve seen happen time and time again, as the development has grown.
4. It couldn’t be better placed
You’ve got to admit, Wellington Place is perfectly placed for business. It’s a five minute walk to Leeds Train Station, it has direct access to the inner ring road and the A1 is just minutes away.
Commuting is easy, whether you’re going by rail or road – and if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, you can take advantage of their electric car charging points or join Car Share Leeds, a free car sharing service that will help you save money and help the environment, all in one go. They also have City Car Club cars on site, so if you need to go to a meeting and you didn’t bring your own car, you can rent one for an hour or two.
But not everyone drives. So if you’d rather put your legs to work by cycling into work, they’ve got their own cycle storage to keep your bike secure – and they also offer a free bike hire service, so if you need to go to a meeting on the other end of town, you can be there in a jiffy, even if you didn’t ride into work.
From the location to the facilities, Wellington Place has been designed to meet the needs of modern workers, giving them everything they need to get to work their way – and that isn’t something you’ll find at many other office developments.
5. It’s in-line with your environmental goals
These days, protecting the environment is a big priority for businesses. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact – from recycling policies to car sharing and energy efficiency. It’s one of the reasons why Wellington Place has been so popular.
The entire development has been designed with sustainability in mind, using a low carbon design alongside the latest technology to create energy efficient offices that meet the growing demands of modern businesses. It’s very technical, but also very interesting, as they’ve designed the buildings around the light – maximising the amount of natural light that comes into the offices, while minimising the amount of heat that gets in. So businesses will use less energy on lighting and air conditioning, saving them money and reducing their carbon footprint.
It doesn’t end there though, because Wellington Place has made recycling a priority. In fact, 99.6% of construction waste is recycled and they’ve cultivated a recycling culture, with on-site waste segregation, that means 0% of waste is sent directly to landfill.
6. It’s already crammed full of world-class businesses
The strength of Wellington Place’s proposition is perhaps most evident in the companies it’s already attracted. The city centre development is full of blue chip companies, with the leading lights in the city’s tech, professional, legal and financial sectors all choosing to call Wellington Place home.
You’ve got the likes of Sky Betting and Gaming, one of the UK’s biggest digital, IT and tech employers, rubbing shoulders with world leading professional services company, Willis Towers Watson, and business insight experts, Equifax. The latter chose to relocate their Bradford office to Leeds, taking up a 19,784 square foot office in the new Wellington Place building.
It was the obvious choice, as Darrell Abbondanza, HR Director at Equifax, explained, “This high-tech development in such a prominent location is an attractive and fantastically well-equipped working environment for our existing team. This new facility will help us to retain the amazing talent we have already as well as allow us to attract a future pool of new talent to the business.”
That’s a major part of the decision to move here. Because it’s not just your usual office development, employees really enjoy working here, and that makes hiring and retaining staff that little bit easier. Not only that, but it also looks the part – the smart design, state of the art tech and big open spaces are inline with the world class businesses that are based here.
“As a leading global professional services company we need office space that is synonymous with the quality of our brand,” Slavica Sedlan, Managing Consultant at Willis Towers Watson explained. “The proposed development of Wellington Place meets our expectations.”
7. It’s only the beginning
Wellington Place has already established itself as one of the leading office developments in Leeds, by offering much more than just bricks and mortar. But actually, this is only the beginning, and there’s much more in the pipeline for MEPC’s landmark Leeds site.
Once complete, it will offer a massive 1.5 million square foot of commercial, retail, leisure and residential accommodation, but without losing the bright, spacious feel that it has now. Walkways between the different buildings will be as wide as roads, with greenery and designed vistas offering a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. And each building, including the ones that are yet to be added, has been designed with sloping roofs so that light will continue reach the public spaces.
At present, it’s predominantly office space, with experience-enhancing features, like L1 Performance and the ever-popular Sociable Folk, which keeps the working population caffeinated through the day, as well as offering a friendly local venue for after work drinks. But a new bar and a new restaurant will be opening at 6 Wellington Place from November 2016, giving workers even more post-work options. Even better, MEPC have now appointed Wates Construction to begin work on 3 Wellington Place, the next step in their masterplan, and alongside five floors of offices, it will also have a ground floor restaurant café lounge perfect for business meetings, client dinners and after work eats.
This is an example of a truly ambitious development, one that’s not just creating space, but also an experience – they’ve already attracted a host of world class businesses, many of which have relocated to Leeds from outside the city, bringing with them thousands of jobs and contributing to the city’s growing economy. We’re looking forward to seeing what they do next – and which big businesses sign up to 5 Wellington Place.Contakt Photography.