All systems go for the Arena?

As expected, the City Council confirmed that it will be putting £20m into the Leeds arena project, either in cash, land or a combination of both. The aim is now to identify an operator for a 12,500 seat arena by the middle of this year and to go to the market to find a developer/funder in the summer. It has been agreed that the greatest economic benefit would be derived from a city centre scheme rather than one on the periphery and this would seem to exclude Elland Road, which conspiracy theorists say is the favourite!!
Take That!!

At your convenience………..

After years of having to nip to the garage on Hunslet Road for a pint of milk, the residents of Leeds city centre will soon be spoilt for choice for their simple convenience shopping. Not only have Tesco agreed to take units at Bridgewater Place and Clarence Dock, but we are also told that the Co-op have agreed terms on a second city centre store after the success of the one they opened late last year in West Point. As if that wasn?t enough to make you dizzy, Sainsbury?s have recently agreed to take 18,000 square feet in the former Alders department store on The Headrow. Good things come to those who wait!

Best City Centre Development

The Gateway, Leeds, won the Resi Props best city centre development award in January and in celebration of this and in order to formally launch the scheme in, there will be a party in the Atrium of The Gateway North in early March. If you are interested in attending and finding out how you can buy an apartment in this award winning scheme with a full furniture package included, email s.kirk@cityliving.co.uk for your invitation.

Resi Props 2007

The evening was a huge success and great fun- the Moulin Rouge theme, including a high energy floor show, caught the attention of the 450 guests, who were incredibly generous on the evening. The combination of ticket sales, the raffle and an auction, raised a staggering £90,000 for Variety Club in Yorkshire and this is a testament to the compassion and generosity of the residential property community in the region. A huge thank you to all our guests on the evening- we look forward to the Resi Props 2008.

Yes to a Casino

Whilst the headlines today may have been focused on the fact that Manchester, a rank outsider, unexpectedly beat Blackpool and London to the Super-casino licence, it will be of more interest to local people that Leeds has been awarded a licence to operate a large casino. The leader of the city council, Andrew Carter said:

?Despite reservations we felt that it was important we took the opportunity to compete with other major cities for a slice of the huge regeneration potential a new casino could bring to Leeds. There is no doubt the casino complex will generate jobs, however we do not underestimate the possible social impact and we must focus on making sure vulnerable people are protected from any downsides.?

The large casino will have a minimum total customer area of 1,500 m², and be permitted up to 150 Category B gaming machines, with a maximum jackpot of £4,000. It will also be permitted to offer betting and bingo.

Happy Birthday Leeds

The borough of Leeds was officially founded 800 years ago and 2007 is ?Celebrate Leeds? year. There will be events throughout the year, including the ?Celebrate Leeds Awards Dinner? at the Town Hall on the 20th April.
The move to make Leeds a formal borough was commercially driven, allowing craftsmen to rent land for the first time and to sell their wares on the new Briggate market. We suspect that the rents may just have gone up a little in the meantime!!

A Casino for Leeds?

It is no secret that Leeds is keen to secure a new casino complex and a major new report has concluded that such a facility would create over 700 new full time jobs. The ?Casino Impact Assessment Study? prepared by PMP looks specifically at the potential impact of a new casino complex on the city and concludes that whilst there would be significant economic benefits, there would also be some potential health and social costs that would have to be carefully managed.

Leeds will find out at the end of January whether or not it is to be awarded one of the 8 so called super casinos which are to be allowed nationally.

What do you think? Email me- j.morgan@cityliving.co.uk

Leeds Bradford Airport

The sale of the crown jewels has taken a big step forward with the project board, which represents the five owners (local authorities), selecting a short list of potential purchasers. Whilst the bidders remain un-named at this stage, it is likely that they will include some private equity investors and established airport operators.

The Chair of the Board, Paul Brook said:

?Indicative prices we have received demonstrate that there is a strong interest for the airport reflecting the excellent potential of the business and its catchment area.?

The process of selecting a new investor to realise further potential whilst achieving the best price for the current owners, is likely to come to a conclusion in April 2007.

Tower Works

Those of you who travel into Leeds by train will long have wondered about the towers of Holbeck. Built in grand style by one of the city’s pioneers, Thomas Harding, in the hay-day of the industrial revolution, they have more recently fallen into decline, standing proudly as they have above a scrap yard.
A face-lift, it seems, is just around the corner. Yorkshire Forward has recently announced that it is in talks with ISIS Waterside Regeneration about he development of the site and an agreement is expected by April this year to deliver an exemplary mixed use scheme which will feature housing, offices, high quality public spaces and some retail and leisure. Find more information about Holbeck at www.holbeckurbanvillage.co.uk.

Leeds Universities expand……

The pace of growth at the city’s universities shows no sign of letting up. Plans have recently been announced by Leeds University for a new £15m student administration building on Beechgrove Terrace, a £9.7m swimming pool alongside the campus sports centre, £4m worth of new laboratories, a new health and bio-science headquarters in Woodhouse costing £10.5m and a planning application has been submitted for a new sports pitch complex on the outskirts of the city. It seems that the Universities are determined to achieve excellence and world status.

Meanwhile, Leeds Met has been granted planning permission for the first phase of the Portland Place scheme behind the civic hall which will provide the Rose Bowl lecture theatre along with Leeds Business School.