The ambitious Leeds city centre developments that were never built

The Lumiere skyscrapers superimposed onto the Leeds skyline
The Lumiere skyscrapers superimposed onto the Leeds skyline
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The Leeds skyline could have looked very different if these major construction schemes had been completed.

Some fell victim to the recession while others just weren't feasible at the time.

The Lumiere skyscrapers

These two huge apartment towers would have been Europe's largest residential buildings if they'd ever been built. The proposals were to re-develop the former Royal Mail sorting office site off Wellington Street, near West Point. The two towers were to have been 54 and 32 storeys high respectively, glass-clad, and would have contained 650 flats.

Offices, shops, cafes, restaurants and a winter garden were also included in the plans. The larger tower would have been Leeds' tallest building and the highest outside of London.

Construction began in 2007, when the site was cleared and prepared. In July 2008, however, the credit crunch had begun to bite, and developers KW Linfoot announced the project had been suspended. They later received permission to add an extra floor into each tower, but just a year later entered administration. In 2010, the owners of the site entered voluntary liquidation, and the scheme was cancelled.

The Central Square office development now stands on the site.

Criterion Place

Criterion Place was another skyscraper scheme which fell victim to the 2008 recession. The plans were to convert the old Queens Hall tram shed site - since the demolition of the building, which later became a concert hall, in 1989, the land had been used as a surface car park. Some office developments were later built, but in 2004 proposals for a large-scale scheme called the Kissing Towers were revealed. A 'twin tower' project by Simpson Haugh, who won a council competition to design buildings for the site, and developers Simon Estates, was put forward. The two glass towers - 53 and 33 storeys in height - would contain 326 apartments, offices and a 186-room hotel. These would have exceeded the height of Lumiere.

In 2008, a revised scheme was submitted due to the constraints of the credit crunch. Soon after, the project was cancelled, and Simon Estates' contract was terminated. The site is now home to KPMG's offices and the council-owned 3 Sovereign Square development.

The Spiracle

This 25-storey apartment block, which would have been surrounded by smaller office buildings, never got off the ground. Developers wanted to build The Spiracle on the old Leeds International Pool site after the swimming facility was demolished in 2009, but the downturn in the property market led to the cancellation of the scheme. Since 2010, the land has been used for car parking, but Leeds City Council recently put the site up for sale again, and they are hoping it will become Grade A office space.

Leeds Arena Hotel

International hotel chain Hilton had planned to occupy a 16-storey hotel proposed for Portland Crescent, close to the First Direct Arena.

A hotel scheme was first given planning permission in 2009, but by 2011 no work had begun. Construction finally started in 2013, but was halted in 2015 when the contractors, GB Building Solutions, went into administration. The site lay empty and the building a half-finished shell for three years.

Select Property Group have since bought the site and are currently converting the building into student accommodation under their Vita brand.

The rooftop garden bar inside Trinity Leeds

Garden-themed bar chain The Potting Shed, which already has sites in Harrogate, Guiseley and Bingley, announced plans to open a rooftop bar and 'secret garden' in Trinity Leeds back in 2017.

The bar and restaurant would cater for over 700 customers and have a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city, three separate bar areas and an entrance on Bond Street.

The brand is owned by Burning Night Group, who also ran the Bierkeller and Shooters bars in Leeds.

A planned opening date was given for summer 2018, but this was later pushed back to 'early 2019' and there's no sign of the development becoming a reality, although a Potting Shed has recently opened in Halifax.

Burning Night Group entered administration in autumn 2018, although their venues remained open. The Bierkeller Entertainment Complex was taken over by new owners, but the bars closed suddenly earlier this month after they were refused a permanent tenancy in the building.