New Leeds builds hit nine-year high

The new John Lewis store takes shape in Victoria Gate, Leeds, as striking concrete diamond panels are installed. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

The new John Lewis store takes shape in Victoria Gate, Leeds, as striking concrete diamond panels are installed. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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CONSTRUCTION in Leeds is powering on as new office space and residential development hits a nine-year high, according to Deloitte’s latest Leeds Crane Survey.

Figures published today show that 16 new schemes started on site in 2015, with over 865,000 sq ft of office space now under construction and 365 residential units either in construction or completed in 2015.

Office construction increased by 425,000 sq ft on the 2014 figure, demonstrating more than 96 per cent growth in 12 months.

Angela Barnicle, director and head of real estate for Deloitte in Yorkshire, said: “Investors are increasingly looking towards the regions to find better value for their money compared to London, and Leeds is now starting to consolidate its position in the northern marketplace.”

Last year saw seven office developments under construction in Leeds, with three new starts on site. In a further vote of confidence, 27 per cent of this is already let and in total over a third of all the space under construction has been leased before completion.

Education facilities remained a key development driver in Leeds, with four new starts in 2015. Work started on the Ruth Gorse Academy on Black Bull Street, which will be one of the largest free schools in England, and the University Technical College on Hunslet Road.

Both of the city’s universities also continued to carry out refurbishment works and have significant capital spend budgets to invest in new development moving forward.

The retail and leisure sector in the city centre also continued to benefit from ongoing investment. Victoria Gate, which will provide a new flagship John Lewis store, opens in 2016 and the construction of two new hotels began in 2015 adding 224 bedspaces.

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