The ‘Northern Powerhouses’ continue to go from strength to strength – the time to invest is now, but why Leeds?
– An ambitious £500m plan to remodel Leeds Station into a “world class gateway” at the heart of the Northern Powerhouses has been revealed. Leeds Train Station is the third busiest British railway station outside of London, serving around 30 million passengers a year. It is also the largest station in England and outside of London in terms of platforms, with 11 terminus platforms and six through platforms.
– The regeneration of the South Bank area of Leeds will be another big change for the city. Aiming to double the size of Leeds city centre by transforming South Bank into a distinctive Global destination for investment, living, learning, creativity and leisure.
– The Quarry Hill area of Leeds is set to undergo a “game-changing” transformation with a five-year redevelopment programme worth in the region of £300m. The new district named SOYO (SOuth of YOrk road) will transform the site, the plans include 106,000 sq ft of offices, 35,000 sq ft of leisure and 7,500 sq ft of retail facilities, in excess of 700 residential units, and a series of vibrant public squares.
– £600m retail development ‘Victoria Gate’ opened in 2016 and has since won Best Shopping Centre in the world at the MIPIM Awards 2017
– Plans for phase 2 of the RIBA award winning ‘Victoria Gate’ development are well underway
– Leeds’ oldest Street, Kirkgate (home of the iconic Grade II listed First White Cloth Hall) has received £2m in council funding to transform it into a vibrant and distinct leisure and retail destination. The Kirkgate market has already received a £13m overhaul
– The First White Cloth Hall has been acquired by local developers, Rushbond and plans are now being formed to transform it into a contemporary retail and leisure space whilst acknowledging its history
– Climate Innovation District developed by CITU – challenging the conventional way of thinking when it comes to city centre living. It’ll be the first time in 90 years that houses have been built in the city centre. There will be 516 low carbon family homes all digitally-enabled smart homes, all with climate adaptation in a Scandinavian design, Citu are accelerating the transition to zero carbon cities
– Over the past 5 years, Leeds has enjoyed significant private sector investment with the opening of Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre and Leeds First Direct Arena (Leeds City Council)
– A rich cultural and creative heritage as it is the only city outside London to have resident ballet, theatre and opera companies
Capital Growth and Strong Yields
House prices continued to rise in Leeds throughout 2017 and 2018 is set to be no different. According to the Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index, values in Leeds were up 7.3% in July compared with the previous year, in 2018 prices are expected to rise a further 7%.
Rental growth has been forecast to reach highs of 18.8% between 2018 and 2021, which is being driven by a student population of 65,000 and key growth industries bringing 6% annual job growth in the private sector. With willing renters and buyers Leeds is well-placed to grow and showing all signs of a strong future.
Employment Prospects and Economic Output
In the last 20 years, more jobs have been created in Leeds than in any other major city outside London and over the next ten years, the economy is forecast to grow by 21%. Leeds is a huge contributor to regional output and this trend is expected to continue into the future as it assumes the mantle of regional capital.
Leeds is a thriving place to live and work. It is fast becoming a hub for several key industrial sector specialisms such as advanced engineering, manufacturing, wholesale technology, healthcare and life sciences. The city also has the highest concentration of higher education institutions in the UK outside London. Leeds College of Art was awarded University status in 2017, totalling the universities to four in the city! More than ever before students are staying well after graduation, with over 50% still working in the city six months after. These graduates, along with young ‘millennial’s’ are fuelling the wholesale and digital tech industries.
In the last two years, the city has seen activity fuelled by the growth of technology business such as Sky’s enhanced footprint at Leeds Dock and the expansion of Perform Group (the digital sports content and media group). Local authorities are working with private sector businesses and investors/developers to bring occupiers into the region, Sky, Perform Group and Provident Financial are good examples of this in Leeds and Bradford respectively.
Leeds is a vibrant and dynamic city with significant regeneration plans and the time to invest is now!
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