IT is indicative of the scale of the challenge now facing Leeds’s struggling Clarence Dock that the development’s lease has been sold to new owners this week for a mere £1.5m.
When it opened in the autumn of 2008, this £260m flagship scheme was supposed to drive forward Leeds’s waterside revival and extend the city centre along the River Aire. Yet more than three years on, most of its commercial units stand dormant and empty.
Clearly, the timing of its opening was unfortunate, with Britain on the cusp of the deepest of recessions.
But there are surely lessons here too about the perils of building an ambitious new development in a location so clearly outside of standard walking routes.
Nevertheless, it is to be hoped the sale can now mark a new beginning for Clarence Dock.
Allied London’s proposal to increase office space at the expense of empty commercial units sounds sensible. More than anything, this development needs increased footfall during daylight hours.
Letting a suite of new office blocks in the current climate will prove a challenge, of course. It is one which Leeds must hope can be met.