Director reveals reasons behind ambitious £160m proposal

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THE property developer behind an ambitious proposal for a £160m living and working building in the centre of Leeds said the vision was the accumulation of 20 years’ work.

Yesterday, Naveen Ahmed, managing director of The Parklane Group, unveiled plans to create a 33-storey building where people can visit, work, live and play under one roof.

The INC building would be built opposite the former Yorkshire Post site on Wellington Street and include a 198 unit aparthotel, 163 apartments, 200 co-living apartments, almost 43,000 sq ft of co-working space, a bar and restaurant, swimming pool, gym and shops.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Ahmed said: “This proposal is where we have been heading towards for the last 20 years. We have been building brands and this building houses all of those brands together.”

The Leeds-based property and leisure expert has a property portfolio worth over £200m.

Brands include Roomzzz Aparthotels and professional and student property brands, IconInc, Parklane Properties and RentInc.

The group already has major investments in key UK cities including Leeds, Manchester and London.

Leisure brand, Leeds Golf Centre, construction firm, Broadley Group, and Fintec company, UOWN, complete the portfolio.

Parklane is growing at a huge rate and it is currently creating another six Roomzzz aparthotels as well as launching its LivInc and WorkInc brands.

LivInc is the group’s co-living brand - a concept which sees professionals living in a student accommodation-type set-up, enabling them to join a community and instantly tap into amenities like free internet, maid service, and new friends.

Parklane has submitted a planning application for its first building on Cardigan Road in Leeds.

It is also launching its WorkInc brand - based on the international WeWork co-working model - in London.

Speaking about the growth, Mr Ahmed said: “When you create something that is a success you keep pushing it and taking up opportunities when they arise.”

He acknowledged the failure of previous ambitious proposals in the city, including the £225m Lumiere apartment building, and the £115m Kissing Towers scheme, which both fell victim to the property slump.

But he said he was confident of getting the funding for INC. Without a funding partner the development will not happen.

“You have to have a vision,” he said. “Leeds unfortunately has had some failed sites but in some cases it was the circumstances of the economy.

“We will get the funding. We have already been in talks with potential funding partners.”

Mr Ahmed said he was open to all funding options. “As long as we have got some control in how this building comes together we will be happy,” he said.

He said he was also open to other companies, such as WeWork, taking elements of the building. “We don’t have to do everything ourselves.”

He added: “It would be easier to build this in Manchester because the values are better but we wanted to do it in our home city. Everything we have done has started off in Leeds.”

The Parklane Group launched its vision, designed by architects BDP, ahead of attending international property conference MIPIM, at which INC will be showcased.

Looking ahead, Mr Ahmed said: “It’s an interesting market at the moment. The big players have acquired their sites in Leeds and we will see more cranes going up.

“There is uncertainty over Brexit so there are challenges but stability with interest rates will keep us going. We are still a world class destination to live and work. If we build something people will come.”

For further information on Parklane visit Parklane Properties.