A LEADING international architect has pledged to create a Leeds landmark after being chosen to design the city’s new £120m retail development.
The first phase of Eastgate Quarters could create more than 1,200 jobs – and see the construction of a walkway from the Victoria Quarter and a 600-space multi-storey carpark.
Developers Hammerson have today announced that architects ACME will draw up the designs, which include a John Lewis department store as its “anchor” beside 30 other retail units, restaurants and leisure space.
Top executives say this initial phase of the development alone will see need than 8,500 construction staff on the site and more than 1,200 jobs when the shops open.
Joe Swindells, Hammerson’s project director for Eastgate Quarters, said: “While the great architecture of Victoria Quarter will be hard to recreate, we want the first phase of Eastgate Quarters to complement its heritage but with a modern twist.
“It will be a big challenge to achieve this but we’re more than confident that the team at ACME can create a new landmark within the city.”
ACME founding director Friedrich Ludewig, added: “We have worked on some truly inspirational projects around the world and after five years of intensive work on the Eastgate masterplan and initial design competitions, we’re very proud to be creating a new 21st century landmark for Leeds, inspired by the architectural heritage of the city.
“The Victoria Quarter is one of the great places of retail architecture in the UK and an outstanding neighbour to have alongside the first phase.
“We look forward to sharing initial proposals for the next generation of Leeds’ retail architecture with residents and retailers in the coming months,” he added.
The proposed designs will go on show at a public exhibition later this spring after which a planning application will be submitted. If the plans are approved, construction is expected to start early next year.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This announcement marks the first major milestone in what will be actual proposals for building work to begin on Eastgate.”
He added: “I am absolutely delighted that we have achieved this and that Leeds is forging forward as a city, despite the obvious economic challenges.”