Leeds economy has 'never been so positive' says leading developer

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The economic prospects of Leeds have “never been so positive” a leading property developer has claimed.

Henrie Westlake with Knight Frank said that the city was enjoying unprecedented levels of inward investment at the whole Yorkshire economy had “every reason to be optimistic”. going forward.

Leeds

Leeds

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Knight Frank has worked on a number of the city’s major projects in recent months, including advising Legal and General on the funding of the £211m Government Hub at Wellington Place, the sale of the Project Vantage portfolio for Network Space for £93m and the funding of a distribution facility at Logic for £60m on behalf of Muse.

It also worked on the refurbishment and letting of 33 Wellington Street to Walker Morris and the regeneration of 34 Boar Lane by Kinrise, to create office, retail and co-working space.

Mr Westlake, who heads up Knight Frank’s Leeds office, said: “The outlook for Leeds has never been so positive, with the city having a real belief in itself; buoyed by unprecedented levels of inward investment.

Boar Lane

Boar Lane

“The quality of life in the city is unmatched in the country. Notwithstanding ongoing political uncertainly, there is every reason to be optimistic given the outstanding fundamentals both for the city and the Yorkshire Region.”

Read more: Rate of profit warnings falls in Yorkshire

He added: “We have had a successful and productive year, despite the challenging economic and political times.

“The Leeds office is proud to have made a significant contribution to Knight Frank’s success. The partnership understands the importance of the UK’s regional cities with a collegiate approach that helps to attract the best possible staff.

Henrie Westlake

Henrie Westlake

“I’m pleased to say our team in Leeds, across all sectors, is exceptionally strong.”

Mr Westlake was commenting after the national property giant saw both its profits and turnover decline for the year to March 31.

Group turnover is down by two per cent to £517.4m from 2018’s £525.9m while group profit before tax fell by 11 per cent to £148.4m .

Alistair Elliott, senior partner and group chairman commented that he found it “remarkable” that trading was performing as well as it was despite the economic uncertainty.

Bond Court

Bond Court

“Coming off the back of a record year, we are very encouraged by our performance in 2019.

“We experienced widespread political and economic uncertainty that resulted in a slowing in transactional activity across many of our principal markets. We are continuing to invest heavily in our future with a focus on developing our digital capabilities, expanding our global platform and improving the environmental and working efficiency of our offices around the world.

“We are particularly pleased that our margin has remained very strong at 29 per cent whilst absorbing the cost of these investments. We are committed to our independence and remain debt free.

“In the UK, our capital markets, valuations and residential lettings teams excelled and our regional commercial offices continued to perform very strongly.

“We also saw improvements in London residential sales, despite the difficult market conditions.

“Assets under management grew by nearly 30 per cent to £2.98bn and, in line with a long-term strategic ambition to extend the business into Continental Europe, KFIM is now
active in a number of European locations, including France, Spain, Germany and Central Europe.”