Yorkshire Forward HQ likely to be sold at half price

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Yorkshire Forward’s headquarters could be sold for half the price the organisation originally paid for them.

Health insurance organisation The Medical Protection Society (MPS) is understood to have put in an offer of between £8m and £9m for 2 and 3 Victoria Place in Leeds, which were put up for sale last month.

Yorkshire Forward paid £7.2m for 2 Victoria Place in 2006 and £12.5m for 3 Victoria Place two years later. The two buildings total 63,550 sq ft.

The fire sale of land and property assets was ordered after the Government announced the abolition of regional development agencies, which are being replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Ministers accused Yorkshire Forward of lacking accountability and pointed out that it failed to close the North-South divide.

Yorkshire Forward will officially close on March 31 but most of its staff have already moved out of the buildings.

The Taxpayers Alliance said the potential loss from this property deal was another example of regional development agencies’ poor record in managing huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.

But a Yorkshire property professional, who did not want to be named, said: “The price Yorkshire Forward paid for the building was a sign of the market it was dealing with back then. The timing of the sale is not fantastic but the offer is not surprising. The same thing is happening all over the country.”

He added: “The Government could sit on the property but then it would be hit by empty property rates and other liabilities and maybe it hasn’t got the budget to do that.”

MPS, which is currently based in Granary Wharf House in Leeds city centre, provides professional indemnity and expert advice to health professionals.

It recently appointed former chief executive of Financial Leeds, Howard Kew, as finance director. He will succeed Simon Kayll who takes up the position of chief executive in January.

A Department for Business spokesman said: “Yorkshire Forward is in negotiation with a potential purchaser of their HQ building. We cannot comment on the negotiation, as this is commercially sensitive.”

Both Jones Lang LaSalle, which is advising Yorkshire Forward on the sale, and MPS declined to comment.