Stadium backer plans more Yorkshire investments

THE multinational financial services giant funding the redevelopment of Headingley Stadium yesterday revealed that its investment in Yorkshire is higher than any other UK region thanks to the proactive approach of its leaders.

Demolition of the North Stand between the Leeds Rhino's Rugby Ground and Yorkshire Cricket Ground, Headingey Stadium, Leeds. 
Picture James Hardisty.
Demolition of the North Stand between the Leeds Rhino's Rugby Ground and Yorkshire Cricket Ground, Headingey Stadium, Leeds. Picture James Hardisty.

Insurance and investment management group Legal & General was yesterday announced as the investor behind the £35m revamp of Headingley Stadium

The financing – on behalf of Legal & General Retirement – will take its total investment in the city to more than £600m, more than half of its total £1bn invested into UK direct investments and urban regeneration projects to date. It is committed to investing £15bn.

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The project includes a new main stand, shared by both Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the rebuilding of the rugby side’s famous South Stand.

The property will be let to Leeds City Council on a 42-year lease and under-let to the rugby and cricket and clubs jointly. The South Stand was demolished in August and work began this month on the back-to-back main stand.

The redevelopment – at what will be known as Emerald Headingley, under a naming rights agreement announced earlier this year – is due to be fully completed in 2019.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Pete Gladwell, head of public sector partnerships at LGIM Real Assets, said: “We want to invest more in social infrastructure - things society wants and will use - rather than just putting up office blocks and shopping centres. The stadium is part of the social fabric of Yorkshire.”

Mr Gladwell said the deal came about because Legal and General was asked by Leeds City Council to consider the investment.

“We do invest in other regions but Yorkshire receives a higher proportion of the investment. The differentiator is that we have a good strong relationship with the council and other public sector bodies locally. They do what other local authorities should do but don’t.”

Mr Gladwell revealed that L&G is in talks with the local authority about future investments in the region but declined to go into details. “This is just one stage in a growing partnership between us and the council,” he said. “This is a positive example of what happens when a financial institution and council work together.”

Investments in the Leeds area include major urban regeneration projects, and the delivery of housing, social care and infrastructure, such as its Thorpe Park Leeds scheme, a city centre build-to-rent scheme and its modular housing factory.

The Headingley project is expected to create local jobs during the reconstruction and in the longer-term and generate additional expenditure of more than £107m by 2023.

Leeds City Council leader coun Judith Blake said: “Headingley Carnegie Stadium is a truly iconic venue loved and celebrated by people across the world. We were determined to find to a way to ensure that top-class sport could continue to be played at Headingley through the redevelopment of the stadium.”