Business tenants at the Round Foundry Media Centre in Holbeck are being forced to moved according to a report published by Leeds City Council yesterday (13 July 2021).
Leeds City Council has decided to let the headlease on the building lapse due to budget pressure as rents have never covered the cost of the lease. The landlord has refused a request to take on the sitting tenants stating it required the building to be handed back with vacant possession. The Council are supporting remaining tenants to find alternative accommodation.
The Round Foundry Media Centre (RFMC) was one of the first buildings completed as part of the ‘Holbeck Urban Village” and opened in 2003. The building which includes a number of Grade II listed structures dating from Matthew Murray’s late 18th century revolutionary building.
It comprises flexible workspace specifically targeted at creative and digital businesses of which there was very little in Leeds at the time. Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency, took on the headlease and subsidised the building addressing this ‘market failure.’
When Yorkshire Forward was scrapped the lease passed to the Homes & Communities Agency and then to Leeds City Council. The Council were given funding to cover the losses on the lease, but this has no run out.
The building is acknowledged to have been a catalyst for the redevelopment of the area and has helped hundreds of start up businesses. Since its opening occupancy levels have been high at 85-90%, but since the pandemic struck levels have fallen to around 30%.