Here’s why Bruntwood Works is about to invest tens of millions of pounds in Leeds

Office space provider Bruntwood Works has revealed ambitious plans to double its Yorkshire estate over the next few years following high profile investments in the region including Channel 4’s new headquarters.

Rob Valentine, director of Bruntwood Works.

The company, which has three buildings in Leeds, wants to add 100,000 sq ft to its portfolio in the city year-on-year as well as invest in its existing buildings.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, director Rob Valentine, inset, said: “We see lots of opportunities in Leeds. It’s a massive economic powerhouse for Yorkshire. We’ve seen the investment that’s been coming in over recent years and in recent months with Channel 4, for example. It’s a city people want to come to for lots of different reasons and once the connectivity improves it’s going to thrive even more.”

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He added: “We want to be bringing the most progressive workspace to the city which is going to be an important part of the model.”

Bruntwood Works, the offices arm of property group Bruntwood, currently owns West Gate, West One, and 14 King Street in Leeds.

Mr Valentine, who oversees Bruntwood Works’ Birmingham office, took over the Leeds region last summer following the departure of Leeds director Craig Burrows. He is tasked with ‘significantly’ growing its city presence.

His vision is to roll out the firm’s ‘pioneer’ model into the city, which supports agile and hybrid working, something many businesses are expected to adopt as the UK moves out of the pandemic.

The concept, which it trialled in Manchester, offers workspace for businesses of all sizes, from a single coworking desk to serviced offices and leased spaces.

It includes technology to monitor and optimise air quality, space to host yoga and fitness classes, living walls, sleep pods, coffee shops, cinema room and shared event and co working spaces.

Mr Valentine said the pandemic had accelerated Bruntwood Works’ expansion plans. “We were already on that journey of creating really interesting, thriving, flexible offices. The pandemic has reinforced our need to continue and accelerate that journey so we’re investing more and more, creating these pioneer solutions,” he said.

He added: “I came up to Leeds last year to have a fresh look at the city and one of the things I noticed is that there’s some great office stock but it’s mostly very corporate.

“But what it didn’t have, in my view, was the softer, more progressive office stock that is more prevalent now in London and in other regional cities, like Manchester. That’s where the opportunity for us in Leeds is.”

Bruntwood Works plans to plough ‘tens of millions’ of pounds into modernising its existing buildings in Leeds as well as expand its footprint.

“We’re finding that a lot of firms are rethinking how they use the office but they’re not completely walking away from offices,” he said.

“I genuinely think that when we get through this a number of businesses will reduce their footprints but keep their investment in offices broadly the same.”

He added: “If organisations get it right, they can empower people to work in a much more flexible way and that will have an impact on all sorts of things from technology to train and car journeys and other forms of travel.”

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James Mitchinson