Oakgate Land in £7.45m sale of city centre’s landmark building

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DEVELOPMENT and investment company Oakgate Land is on the acquisition trail after selling an historic building in a prime retail location in a £7.45m deal.

The Wetherby-based company sold Trinity Square, on Boar Lane, Leeds, to the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund.

Oakgate bought the building, the site of the former Peel Hotel, from TCGT Holdings of Guernsey for £2.8m in 2011 and spent more than £1m on a major refurbishment.

The 20,000 sq ft building was the home of the Square bar for many years but Oakgate transformed the site into a thriving retail hub, which is now home to Sainsbury’s Local, Jack Wolfskin, Caffe Nero, the Roxy Ball Room and Barburrito.

The total annual rent is in the region of £454,500.

John Grantham, managing director of Oakgate, said: “We bought an ailing pub on its last legs called the Square on the Lane, which had replaced the Peel Hotel, and transformed it into a thriving modern retail and leisure development with high-profile tenants.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved, regenerating part of Boar Lane and Albion Street in the heart of the city.”

He added: “Oakgate’s motto is ‘Breathing Life into the City Centre’ and this is just what we have done at Trinity Square.

“The decision of Sainsbury’s to open a Local store here was a resounding endorsement of the development and created a great deal of interest in the remaining units, which are now fully occupied.”

Trinity Square sits between two entrances into Land Securities’ major retail scheme Trinity Leeds, which opened last year.

It is next door to one of the largest Primark stores in the country.

Mr Graham said: “The success of Trinity Square has gone hand-in-hand with the success of Trinity Leeds, the major new retail development by Land Securities.

“Together they have created a high-quality retail quarter in the centre of Leeds.”

Mr Grantham said the sale of Trinity Square and other assets meant that Oakgate was on the acquisition trail again.

“We specialise in the development and refurbishment of retail and leisure opportunities in inner-city locations and have completed numerous projects in the north of England over the last decade.

“We are now actively looking to buy properties to develop and regenerate,” he said.

The agents for Trinity Square were Dresler Smith and Savills.

Kevin Grady, the chairman of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “Boar Lane is one of the finest examples of classic Victorian architecture in Leeds and I am absolutely delighted that Oakgate have restored an important part of the street to its original splendour.

“It was very sad to see 58-63 Boar Lane slip into decline during the past 15 years.

“Now Oakgate have brought back integrity and coherence to one of Leeds’s most famous streets.

“This sensitive renovation re-emphasises how important Boar Lane is to the city”.

No. 58-63 Boar Lane was completed in 1875 to the designs of the noted Leeds architect Thomas Ambler, who designed most of the Victorian buildings on Boar Lane, following the Boar Lane Improvement Act, which allowed the street to be widened from 21 feet to 66 feet.

The scheme was the brainchild of Sir John Barran, the pioneer of the Leeds ready-made clothing industry.

He was Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1870 to 1871 and also represented the city as a Liberal MP in the House of Commons. Mr Ambler also designed St Paul’s House, which overlooks Park Square in Leeds and is an architectural landmark in the city.

Built in 1878, it was originally used as a warehouse and cloth cutting works for Barran.

Barran made a fortune by developing the band knife for cutting large quantities of cloth in one pass, which was the world’s first off-the-peg clothing process, and by the 1870s there were 2,000 machines in Leeds.

The sale of 58-63 Boar Lane follows a flurry of recent investment deals in the Yorkshire region.

Last Friday, it was announced that the Arndale Centre in Headingley, Leeds, had been sold to Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust in a £16.23m deal.

The 125,834 sq ft shopping centre, which was built in 1964, has 23 tenants, including Sainsbury’s, Wilkinsons and Pizza Express. On Thursday it was announced that White Rose Way in Doncaster had been sold to an overseas investor for £20m.

The site is let to home improvement and garden retailer B&Q for approximately another 10 years. It also has a large car park.

Meanwhile, 54-56 Fargate – a retail and office building let to O2 – in Sheffield was sold for £1.6m to Fargate Properties, a subsidiary of Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust by M & G Real Estate.

The building is in the heart of the central shopping area adjacent to the Orchard Square Shopping Centre.

Last October, a retail development let to Superdry, Karen Millen, Sports Direct and French Connection, in the centre of York was sold for £20.6m.

No. 1-5 Davygate and 3 Little Stonegate, was sold by LaSalle Investment Management to DTZ Investment Management.