Leeds experienced unprecedented levels of construction in 2018, with new highs achieved in the health and education and purpose-built student accommodation sectors (PBSA), according to the annual Crane Survey.
The survey published by Deloitte Real Estate recorded 21 new construction starts on site, which was only bettered in 2007 when 31 new schemes were announced.
The number of residential units under construction across the city centre is also at the highest level since 2007.
Health and education saw 743,000 sq ft of floorspace under construction, with new facilities being brought forward by Leeds Beckett University, Leeds College of Building, Leeds College of Art and the new Leeds City College Campus at Quarry Hill.
Nolan Tucker, director at Deloitte Real Estate in Leeds, said: “The results of the 2019 Crane Survey are outstanding for Leeds and paint a clear picture of a future-focused city gearing up for the next phase in its development.
“The investment in health and education facilities, combined with new office accommodation that can meet the needs of a wider range of occupiers, and the emergence of the city centre build-to-rent market is establishing the perfect environment to support significant economic growth.”
The student accommodation sector has also registered record levels of development activity with four new starts, the highest since the Leeds Crane Survey began 12 years ago.
These contributed towards the 2,768 student accommodation bedspaces currently under construction, four times the annual average since 2007.
The office sector has the second largest quantum of office floorspace under construction in the history of the survey at 804,257 sq ft, bettered only by the 820,247 sq ft recorded in 2015.
Mr Tucker said: “Leeds has established itself as a hub for technology and the recent decision by Channel 4 to base its new HQ in the city is a demonstration of the confidence that it can support digital and creative industries.
“This has been further reinforced by the number of businesses that have announced relocations to the city since then, helping to generate a young and vibrant city centre market.
“Combine this with continuing improvements to infrastructure and connectivity, including the redevelopment of Leeds railway station, HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the planned expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport, and the city has a compelling story to tell nationally and internationally.”
Residential development, which showed a significant resurgence in the 2017 survey, also continued an upward trajectory in 2018.
Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s an exciting time for the Leeds City Region. Wakefield has won £4.4m from the Cultural Development Fund, Bradford is about to host the cutting-edge Yorkshire Games Festival, Nexus the £40m research and innovation hub at the University of Leeds is under construction whilst GAMA Healthcare is opening a £4m tech lab in Halifax. There is a collective momentum and commitment to partnership at work. I’m delighted to see this confidence reflected in the 2019 Crane Survey. Demand is strong with significant investments to be announced in the near future.”
The Leeds Crane Survey, which is now in its 12th year, is published annually.
Quarry Hill to open this year
The new Leeds City College Campus at Quarry Hill will house 3,000 students when it opens on August 23.
The Quarry Hill campus will be located inacultural quarter of Leeds with the likes of the BBC, Leeds Playhouse and Northern Ballet situated nearby.
Bill Jones, deputy CEO of Leeds City College, said: “That was a huge factor in the choice of location for this building. We wanted to be central to that cultural quarter as some people call it.”
The cost of the campus is around £60m.
Leeds City College has over 20,000 students across all its sites.