Industrial landmark sale ‘is key to growth ambitions’

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THE regeneration of Leeds’s South Bank has begun in earnest, with the city’s council putting a key part of the landmark Tower Works on sale.

The historic factory site, with its three iconic towers, was once at the heart of Leeds’s industrial success, and it is hoped it will be central to its economic rebirth.

The building, which now contains rented offices, is being earmarked as the next big-name development project in Leeds.

Senior councillors will debate the sale at a meeting of the decision-making cabinet today. They will be presented with a report which says there is “growing market confidence” and “high levels of developer interest” in Tower Works.

The report adds that the sale of the Engine House – which once powered the production of steel pins for the global textile market – will “help kick-start regeneration efforts” in Holbeck Urban Village.

It says initial market testing has shown that the Tower Works site has “significant interest from potential developers and is one of the most attractive development sites in the South Bank”.

Leeds Council currently owns the Engine House and the three Italianate towers. The authority will be retaining the towers as heritage assets. The rest of the site is owned by the Housing and Communities Agency.

Tower Works was previously owned by the now-defunct Yorkshire Forward, who bought it in 2005 and spearheaded an initial phases of development and preparation for the next phase of work. However it is now “the right time to bring the site forward as a development opportunity”, the council report says.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds council’s executive board member for the economy and development, said: “Being able to secure the development of the Tower Works site would be hugely encouraging for Holbeck Urban Village and our aspirations for the regeneration of the South Bank. This site could be used for a variety of high quality mixed-use schemes, including residential and employment uses.

“We are confident that developing this site will be the catalyst for the development of neighbouring sites and that it will kick-start further regeneration of this area.

“This part of the city has fantastic potential, especially with longer terms plans for the nearby city centre park and HS2, which would bring incredible investment prospects. With the confidence in this area growing more and more there is a real opportunity to secure new investment and deliver development.”