Victoria Gate retail development in Leeds on track to open next autumn

​The company behind the upmarket £165m Victoria Gate ​retail development in Leeds said work is progressing well and it is on target to open in the autumn next year.

The £150m Victoria Gate site
The £150m Victoria Gate site

Property giant Hammerson said it has upgraded the design of the scheme to incorporate two rooftop restaurants ​and it is in negotiations with high-end operators about running them.

The shopping centre scheme is already 51​ per cent​ pre-let to brands including Maje and The White Company.​

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James Hepburn, development manager at Hammerson, said: “We are very happy with the scheme’s progress and excited for the opening in late 2016.

“We are delighted to confirm that aspirational retail brands Maje and The White Company have both signed up to Victoria Gate.

“Over the last few months, we have also welcomed several new brands to Victoria Quarter including luxury French fashion retailer Sandro and award winning maternity brand Seraphine, which is no doubt a reflection of the growing ‘Victoria Gate effect’.”

The 35,400 square metre Victoria Gate scheme, which is adjacent to Victoria Quarter, is expected to create up to 1,000 construction job opportunities.

The development will consist of three buildings - a flagship John Lewis store, a two-street covered arcade with more than 30 aspirational retailers and restaurants and an 800-space multi-storey car park.

​Hammerson said that John Lewis will bring in shoppers who don’t currently shop in Leeds in what is widely known in retail terms as “the John Lewis effect” as the store is so popular with shoppers.

The Victoria Gate store will be one of the biggest John Lewis stores outside London and will be between 255,000 and 260,000 sq ft.

The scheme is being billed as the latest piece in the jigsaw of the complete regeneration of Leeds city centre.

​Hammerson said Victoria Gate will be very different to Trinity Leeds, which appeals to a young fashion and mass market audience.

In contrast Hammerson’s scheme will be pitched at a higher demographic and is aiming for a similar experience to South Molton Street in London, the upmarket pedestrianised street south of Bond Street in the heart of London’s West End.

Victoria Quarter is ornate, but very small​, and Hammerson believes ​retailers may ​well grasp the opportunity to up-size to a larger store in Victoria Gate.

The new Victoria Gate ​retail ​space will be positioned between Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.

ACME ​designed the architectural plans​ for the scheme​ that pay homage to the Grade II listed, Frank Matcham-designed, Victoria Quarter while also creating a modern building.

​The scheme is being billed as a 21st century-inspired retail arcade.​

​​Plans for the eight-storey white Terracotta building include a roof inspired by the Corn Exchange, but with the contemporary reference of the new, highly acclaimed Kings Cross station in London.