Idé Real Estate reveal plans for major Leeds development as they are announced as preferred purchaser

Leeds City Council has announced Idé Real Estate as the preferred purchaser for its complex of three grade II listed buildings, Leonardo, Thoresby and Great George Street.

The specialist in mixed-use assets and developments, has revealed that two of the buildings will be refurbished as millennial grade offices, while the third will be transformed into a “distinguished” hotel.

Set within the city’s emerging innovation district, the three buildings currently offer over 86,000 sq ft of space, with the potential for significant additional development. The search for a development partner was launched to market in October 2016 at the MIPIM UK 2016 event.

Currently used by Leeds City Council as part of its city centre office complex, all staff will be located to the new Merrion House as part of the Council asset strategy to drive greater efficiency and service delivery for the city. Refurbishment and redevelopment will likely commence in Q4 2018 following the planning process.

The Leonardo and Thoresby buildings, a former printing works and teachers’ college, both constructed around 1900, are proposed to be refurbished to offer around 53,000 sq ft of modern, flexible serviced office space.

Great George Street, a detached building constructed as a school in around 1890, will be transformed into a highly desirable hotel. It will offer 140 rooms within the existing footprint and rooftop extension, with a further potential 200 rooms in a new building on the current carpark site. It’s estimated that Leeds will require an additional 2,500 high-quality hotel beds, in order to service the uplift in visitor numbers expected as part of the 2023 Capital of Culture bid.

The trio of buildings sit within the planned Leeds Innovation District, which comprises the main city centre campuses of the University of Leeds, Leeds Becket University, and potentially the Leeds College of Art, Leeds City College and the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust’s Leeds General Infirmary site.

Acting as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive economic development, it will bring together some of Leeds’ most creative and innovative institutions and seek to attract new research facilities. It will also provide a range of workspaces, create new development opportunities and provide new high-density housing to attract and retain skilled workers.

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“We are delighted to announce Idé as the preferred purchaser for the site. The plans they have brought forward perfectly matched the aspirations of the city and the requirements of a gateway site to the Innovation District.

“These buildings occupy key city centre sites and it’s vital that they are developed in a strategic way, to continue to stimulate the city’s economy and enhance services for the people of Leeds.”

Ronan Faherty, CEO at Idé Real Estate, commented:
“Our vision for the scheme was to deliver high-quality, desirable and distinguished developments that match the location, history and significance of the buildings, with the future requirements and ambitions of one of the fastest growing cities in the UK.

“Sitting in the business and civic quarters of the city, and also in the newly planned Innovation District, and the First Direct Arena the complex is ideally located for business occupiers and visitors alike. We look forward to sharing the future development plans as they progress.”