Iconic Yorkshire building that played a starring role in early films to get multi-million pound facelift

An iconic Leeds building, which played a starring role in one of the very oldest pieces of film in the world, is undergoing a multi-million pound transformation.

1 Sovereign Quay is situated on Leeds Bridge, which was the subject of French inventor Louis Le Prince’s pioneering film of industrial Leeds in 1888

1 Sovereign Quay is situated on Leeds Bridge, which was the subject of French inventor Louis Le Prince’s pioneering film of industrial Leeds in 1888.

The grainy, black-and-while film, showing people and carriages crossing Leeds Bridge, has achieved legendary status as the first moving picture sequence using a single lens camera and a strip of paper.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Eamon Fox, partner and head of office agency at the Leeds office of global property consultancy Knight Frank, is marketing the building on behalf of Charles Street Buildings Group.

Bespoke facilities will include glass walls and two private roof terraces

Mr Fox said: “This is a building which is steeped in history and is also so full of promise and potential for the future. What a heady mixture.

“Formerly known as Windsor House, this sleeping giant is now undergoing a multi-million pound makeover, including the addition of south facing terraces and full height glazing on the fourth and fifth floors, which will provide over 21,000 sq ft of stunning Grade A office space.

"It will offer the ultimate combination of character, prominence, positioning, design and stunning views across the city."

Work has already started on the transformation of the building, which will be ready for occupation in the second quarter of 2022.

The exterior of 1 Sovereign Quay

Mr Fox added: “By appearing in one of the oldest surviving pieces of film in existence, 1 Sovereign Quay has truly cemented itself in history.

"Louis Le Prince filmed Leeds Bridge and the surrounding buildings during the heady late Victorian years of industrial growth and commerce and it’s only right that the building is now re-imagined to reflect Leeds’s continuing regeneration and its need to evolve for contemporary life and work."

Situated on the north bank of the River Aire within the heart of the city, 1 Sovereign Quay has views across the river, the city and beyond.

With both the financial and shopping districts only a short walk away and with cafes, restaurants and bars in all directions, Mr Fox said that it is close to "all the best that Leeds has to offer".

Pioneering filmmaker Louis Le Prince disappeared without trace just two years after making his film about Leeds Bridge

He added: “These brand new Grade A offices will provide all that is needed for a modern inner-city working environment, with a major emphasis on staff health and wellbeing, sustainability and open plan design."

Bespoke facilities will include glass walls, two private roof terraces, secure underground secure parking, storage for bikes, and access to state-of-the art showers and changing facilities.

Mr Fox said: “As you enter the building, you’ll be greeted with a spacious and impressive lobby with room to relax, network and greet visitors.

"Crucially, all the office space will be open plan floor plates, ranging from 3,800 sq ft to 4,725 sq ft, ready to be tailored to individual business needs. We are looking to lease the offices floor by floor and we are already receiving strong interest.”

The launch of 1 Sovereign Quay is another example of the strength of Leeds' office market and it follows the relocation of Channel 4 to the Majestic, the 76,000 sq ft pre-let to law firm DLA at City Square House and the success of Kinrise’s mixed-use development at 34 Boar Lane.

As for the pioneering filmmaker Louis Le Prince, he disappeared without trace just two years after making his film about Leeds Bridge.