Construction activity in Leeds ‘is rebounding’

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CONSTRUCTION activity in Leeds is rebounding and the recovery appears to have further to run, according to the latest crane survey of the city by Deloitte.

The study found that work started on 14 schemes in 2014, of which 10 are new-build developments, compared with just three in 2013. These included the 202,000 sq ft Central Square development, and the latest phase of MEPC’s Wellington Place scheme.

More than 550,000 sq ft of office space is under construction in Leeds, with an average of 99,000 sq ft per office scheme. This is three and a half times more than in 2013, and is fuelled by a growing tenant demand and rising developer confidence.

Angela Barnicle, director and head of real estate for Deloitte in Yorkshire, said: “Some commercial property developers continue to be cautious, but we expect to see sentiment strengthen further this year, and some of the previously-announced schemes in the city will start to take shape.”

A total of six office completions were recorded in 2014, delivering almost 215,000 sq ft of space. This is just over four times the amount completed in 2013, and above the 188,000 sq ft annual average for the first time since 2009.

Office leasing activity in the city centre was also buoyant in 2014, with the final quarter seeing a 10 per cent uplift, bringing the annual total of let space to 540,000 sq ft, which is above the 10-year average but down on the record level of 2013.