"Tens of thousands" of jobs to be created in Leeds after L&G deal

Tens of thousands of jobs are to be created in Leeds after insurance giant Legal & General signed a £211m office deal, thought to be the city’s biggest ever office investment.

Investment giants Hermes and CPPIB will still own the rest of the wider Wellington Place estate

L&G has bought 7-8 Wellington Place from Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

L&G said the deal will have a big impact on the region, providing quality office space and creating “tens of thousands of jobs”.

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Legal & General Retirement will forward-fund the 377,730 sq ft project at 7-8 Wellington Place, which is being developed by MEPC.

Investment giants Hermes and CPPIB will still own the rest of the wider Wellington Place estate.

Once completed, the wider scheme will total 1.5m sq ft of commercial, retail, leisure and residential space.

In 2017, the Government pre-let 7-8 Wellington Place to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government on behalf of HMRC and NHS Digital.

The asset includes two office buildings, basement car parking and associated retail and leisure facilities.

This latest deal is L&G’s tenth Government hub in the centre of Leeds. Over the past three years, L&G has invested over £1.5bn in developing Government hubs in cities across the UK.

Gordon Aitchison, director of investment and development at L&G’s investment management arm LGIM Real Assets, said: “Representing Legal & General’s 10th Government Hub, these investments are a perfect match for our UK pension commitments, providing high-quality long-term investments while also aiding vital regional regeneration.

“As the second-largest financial hub outside of London, with a strong and growing workforce, our investment in Leeds will have a meaningful impact on the region, providing quality office space and creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

The Leeds office of global property consultancy Knight Frank advised L&G, together with Lewis Ellis.

The buildings are part of Wellington Place, a sustainable business community being built in the heart of Leeds.

L&G has directly invested around £1.1bn in Leeds in recent years through major urban regeneration projects and the delivery of housing, social care and infrastructure.

Other key investments include the redevelopment of Headingley Cricket Stadium and Mustard Wharf, a city centre Build To Rent scheme.

Other schemes include the mixed-use Thorpe Park Leeds scheme, which involves the construction of the first section of the East Leeds Orbital Road, a key piece of road infrastructure for the city.

Despite being one of the UK’s major financial and business service hubs, Leeds has an extremely low supply of Grade A office space.

With the city benefiting from the largest growing workforce outside London, L&G said the development will help to meet growing demand by providing much-needed top quality office space to the region.

Chris Taylor, head of private markets at Hermes Investment Management said: “This deal is a testament to the significant success that has been achieved in establishing a sustainable investment community at Wellington Place in Leeds through our joint venture investment and with MEPC as our development manager partner.

“It will enable us to capitalise on this holistic approach to urban regeneration.”

James Dipple, CEO of MEPC, added: “We look forward to working with the new investors and tenants to ensure that Wellington Place continues to meet the needs of the people who work here and demand for high quality buildings within the wider City Region.”