‘Ugly duckling’ in Leeds to undergo makeover

Capitol House in Bond Court, Leeds
Capitol House in Bond Court, Leeds
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THE renaissance of a key business district in Leeds city centre is gathering pace after work to modernise two separate office buildings started on site.

Evans Property Group, which owns a number of buildings in the Bond Court area, is in the middle of a £20m investment programme and now other building owners have decided to follow suit.

Evans has appointed GMI Construction to carry out a £2.5m refurbishment of Capitol House, including 20,000 sq ft of office space.

Meanwhile, Savills is project managing the multi-million pound refurbishment of 9 Bond Court. The 68,230 sq ft building is let to a number of professional firms including property agent Knight Frank, Stewarts Law, Redmayne-Bentley and Begbies Traynor.

The refurbishment of Capitol House is the second phase of Evans’ investment programme. The first phase, which is due to complete in the forthcoming weeks, is the refurbishment of the nine-storey Minerva office building on East Parade.

The developer is also about to start work on the 90-bed four-star Dakota hotel at the former ‘stacker’ car park on Greek Street for which it secured planning in February.

Capitol House is home to occupiers including BNP Paribas, Cap Automotive and Lifesearch.

GMI will update the outside of the building and create a new double height enlarged feature reception. It will also refurbish the lift and stairs, modernise the common area and refurbish 20,000 sq ft of offices on the first and third floors. It will also create a bin store to enhance the appearance of the Bond Court area.

Work is scheduled to complete in October this year.

Alan Syers, portfolio director at Evans Property Group, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have such well-positioned offices as Capitol House and Minerva in our Leeds City Centre portfolio and are committed to maximising their potential. Our vision for the Bond Court area is to create outstanding public realm surrounded by high quality offices and a luxury hotel to bring about a new destination for the people living in, and visiting, Leeds.”

No.9 Bond Court was recently bought by Cordea Savills, on behalf of a client, from F&C REIT Asset Management for £12.4m.

Knight Frank, which is joint agent with Savills, said refurbishing the building would complement the work that Evans is doing.

The work includes refurbishing two office floors of approximately 6,500 sq ft and lobbies, a new reception, a new entrance, new basement shower facilities, and floor-to-ceiling glazing.

Work is expected to complete by spring 2015, subject to a successful planning application for a new entrance to the building and floor-to-ceiling glazing.

Elizabeth Ridler, partner at Knight Frank in Leeds, said: “This refurbishment of 9 Bond Court complements perfectly the renaissance of the Bond Court area in the heart of the city.

“With the new state-of-the-art four-star Dakota Hotel replacing the brutalist Greek Street car park, and both Minerva house and Capitol House being upgraded, this area, once an ugly duckling, will become the new heart of the professional core in Leeds.”