Leeds is '˜centre of digital excellence'

It's no secret that Leeds is increasingly seen by tech-savvy start-up businesses as prime location for innovative work.

But new figures released this week reveal the speed at which the city is becoming a hub for digital businesses.

Property consultancy Knight Frank said on Monday that 71 per cent of all office space snapped up here in the first six months of 2016 was taken by those working in the technology, media and telecommunications sector.

That could be hardware, software, mobile, Internet companies or others related to the industry.

Knight Frank said that the figures reaffirms the city’s “increasing reputation as a centre for digital excellence.”

Eamon Fox, partner and head of office agency at Knight Frank in Leeds, said: “Leeds offers a UK leading choice of new offices backed by competitive rents and access to a diverse and skilled workforce.

“These all make our city very attractive to both local businesses as well as companies looking to relocate from the expensive and overcrowded London and south-east markets.”

Knight Frank has previously said that projects such as the £1.5m refurbishment of the Concordia Works building in Sovereign Street in the city centre – which is due to be completed this month – have been influenced by the needs of the digital, technology and media sector.

“The impact of advancements in technology on the property market is likely to be significant as the requirements of a multitude of sectors including logistics, retail, healthcare and more shift as innovative ways of working and living are embraced,” Mr Fox said.

Another building which forms part of a wider redevelopment project in the city centre is 3 Sovereign Square, which Leeds City Council bought in June for for £43.75m, according to Frank Knight.

The building will boast five floors of contemporary open plan office space.

However, Mr Fox has warned that uncertainty after the Brexit referendum has led to fears of a slowdown in office space being taken up more generally – but that may not impact on digital businesses setting up.

Mr Fox said: “There is no doubt that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has affected the office market in Leeds, with the total of 47 deals completed in the first half of this year, which is down on the same period last year.”

But he notes that the recent completion of 6 Wellington Place, 6 East Parade, Central Square and 6 Queen Street will boost supply.

“While a number of these schemes have been subject to pre-lets, there are still some opportunities for occupiers seeking the latest Grade A office space within the city centre.”

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