Sainsbury’s heads to Victorian gem

SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s is expanding in Leeds with a fourth city centre location as part of the £1m refurbishment of a Victorian building.

The supermarket will open a 4,400 sq ft Local store at Trinity Square, the new development at 58-63 Boar Lane, in the summer. It already has stores in Leeds City Station, The Merrion Centre and The Headrow.

Wetherby-based developer Oakgate Group bought the 20,000 sq ft listed building, the site of the former Peel Hotel, for £2.8m from TCGT Holdings of Guernsey.

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John Grantham, managing director at Oakgate, said: “This is a pearl of a building which is receiving some tender loving care. Our motto is ‘Breathing Life into the City Centre’ and this is just what we are doing at Trinity Square.”

The building comprises five retail units, with four still available to lease on two floors.

Mr Grantham said: “The decision of Sainsbury’s to open a Local store here is a resounding endorsement of the development and will create a great deal of interest in the remaining units. There is also an existing Caffé Nero.”

Trinity Square sits between two entrances into Land Securities’ major retail scheme Trinity Leeds, which is currently being built. It will sit next door to one of the largest Primark stores in the country.

Mr Grantham said: “We specialise in the development and refurbishment of retail and leisure opportunities in inner-city locations and have completed numerous projects in the centre of Leeds over the last decade.

“However, this redevelopment is very special indeed and is close to our hearts as we are restoring part of Boar Lane and Albion Street which has fallen on hard times recently.”

In November, Sainsbury’s announced it is on the hunt for more sites in Yorkshire following the outperformance of its new northern stores. The region is well known by a number of its directors who live in the area: Roger Burnley, retail and logistics director, lives in Huddersfield; Gwynn Burr, customer service and colleague director, lives in Ilkley and Mike Coupe, commercial director, lives in York.

Property agent Colliers acted for Sainsbury’s in the deal. Leeds-based Dresler Smith and Savills are joint agents for Trinity Square.

David Dresler, director at Dresler Smith, said: “The location already benefits from proximity to the office core and the train station, which has an average of 74,000 passengers per day. The busy footfall is only going to improve following the completion of the 1.1m sq ft Land Securities development.

“The building is stunning and with new shop fronts will create an appealing contrast with the modernity of the Land Securities scheme. Rents will be pitched 60 per cent below Trinity and that will appeal to some occupiers. In addition, many retailers do not wish to be within an enclosed shopping environment.”

Kevin Grady, chairman of Leeds Civic Trust, added: “Boar Lane is one of the finest examples of classic Victorian architecture in Leeds and I am absolutely delighted that Oakgate are helping to restore 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 are refurbishing it, which will bring back integrity and coherence to one of Leeds’s most famous streets.

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

The building was completed in 1875 to the designs of 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 and Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1870 and 1871.

He also represented the city as a Liberal MP in the House of Commons.