Potential developers behind plans for billion pound plans for a ‘world trade centre’ in parts of old Hunslet are promising lots of new jobs for South Leeds residents.
The ‘One Leeds‘ proposal includes building a state-of-the-art World Trade Center exhibition and conference centre, up to 1,000 apartments, 1 million sq ft of office space, 3,000 car parking spaces plus hotels, cafes, restaurants and shops. And there are also plans for a park and an “urban eco-settlement”.
One Leeds Plc was responding to a recent editorial in South Leeds Life which called on them to fully engage with residents and businesses in Hunslet and Holbeck before submitting any plans for the former industrial heartland.
Adam Sims, CEO of One Leeds Plc, told South Leeds Life that his company’s proposals were still at an early stage but that he was already looking at a per cent age of the 1,000 estate jobs to go to South Leeds residents. Mr Sims said:
“We do want to support South Leeds through jobs and through good links from our development into Hunslet and beyond.”
One possible idea for the site is for a microbrewery to be built, honouring the legacy of Tetley in the area. Mr Sims said he’d be keen to get former Tetley workers – many of them from South Leeds – involved.
He said more formal consultation with local residents would come ‘in due course’ but was keen to hear SLL readers’ views to help shape the project. He added:
“We want to create a space where people come and say ‘wow’. We want to create the number one leisure destination in the region. Two questions I would like input on are the questions of a park and the microbrewery.
“We’re planning a five-acre family park with giant waterfalls and huge marble floors, an amazing space for the city. Some people think it will be a wonderful resource, but others have said that if people want to see green space they can get into their car and drive to the countryside.
“We think the city needs a new park but we want to know what everyone thinks about it.”
Mr Sims’ who hails from Leeds, said he knew of one Bramley family who went to Centenary Square in Bradford rather than Leeds City centre because of its superior family facilities.
Other plans for the 22-acre site includes a business incubator space, supporting digital start ups.
Drawings (some of which are shown exclusively here for the first time) show around 30 building plots of differing sizes within an area surrounded by Crown Point, Meadow Lane and Brewery Wharf and Hunslet to the north and south.
South Leeds Life understands One Leeds Plc is one of several developers interested in securing land in the area for redevelopment.
Mr Sims hopes that once land options have been secured, a public consultation will take place prior to a formal planning application being submitted. He hopes work will start on site by 2017 with work finished ‘by the end of the decade’. Before that there’s the matter of raising the funds for the development, which he hopes to raise through £350 million in loans and the same amount in equity.
It’s understood One Leeds is in talks with a number of companies about venture partnerships. Firms include global giants McLaren Construction Group, commercial property company Unibail Rodamco and venue development and business management firm ADNEC Group.
Mr Sims added: “If [Leeds City Council] agrees that they want us to promote and regenerate the site then the development can go ahead.
“Carlsberg have told us they will look to the council for approval of who they should work with, and McLaren’s partners have already agreed to a £10 million seed fund to get the project off the ground.”
What do you think of the plans? What would you like to see built there? What should South Leeds get out of such a major development? Would you like to see a park and a microbrewery? Have your say in the comments below and we’ll make sure your comments are passed on to One Leeds.
South Leeds Life doesn’t usually mix it’s articles with comment, but given One Leeds were replying to our initial comment piece we thought we’d make an exception here.
The developers are clearly at the start of their journey so it is too early for them to give cast iron guarantees about consultation and jobs. Their proposals for the site are ambitious, but they’ve also set themselves an incredibly ambitious timescale to realise their project.
As you’d expect they’re making the right noises at present (and there’s always the danger these kind of interviews end up giving them a free public relations exercise) but we’ll keep following their progress to ensure their words regarding jobs, links and consultation aren’t just empty ones.
We’d also like the throw down the gauntlet to other potential developers of the site around The Tetley – what are your plans? How do you plan to involve local residents? SLL would love to hear from you!