Tower Works Build to Rent Scheme Tops Out

Construction of the historic Tower Works scheme on Globe Road in Holbeck has reached a significant milestone with a topping out ceremony on Tuesday (8 August 2022).

The 245 unit build to rent (BTR) scheme, which sits within the historic Tower Works canal-side site, is being built by Sir Robert McAlpine on behalf of owner and funder, Legal & General, and developers, Ask Real Estate and Richardson in conjunction with Homes England.

Having now reached its highest point of construction, Tower Works is set to complete in Spring 2023.

Representatives from the project team gathered to mark the occasion which was led by a speech from Sir Andrew McAlpine.

In keeping with Sir Robert McAlpine’s Scottish roots, a piper led guests to the rooftop where a lucky evergreen bough was secured at the building’s highest point, a tradition which dates back to Roman times to ward off evil spirits. A toastmaster officiated while works manager Kevin Carr and Ask Real Estate managing director John Hughes exchanged a ceremonial tankard and shared a traditional noggin of local ale to celebrate a ‘job well done.’


Commenting on the progress made, Paul Quinn, Regional Director North West and Yorkshire, Sir Robert McAlpine, said:

“The topping out of Tower Works marks a significant milestone in the development of this historic site and a great opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work achieved by the whole project team so far. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Ask Real Estate and Richardson to deliver this exciting Build to Rent Scheme for Leeds, right next to Mustard Wharf which we completed last year.”

Mike Powell, Head of Build to Rent Transactions at LGIM Real Assets, said:

“It is always important to pause and recognise success, and the topping out of Tower Works gives us the opportunity to do just that; congratulating the whole team on reaching this milestone, whilst also acknowledging the positive impact the development will have on the local community. This is our second Build to Rent project in Leeds, and shows our continued commitment to the City as well as the sector.”

McAlpine has developed the adjacent Mustard Wharf scheme, also funded and owned by Legal & General, with both schemes employing skilled local workers during construction. Recognising the prospect for rental growth in Leeds, Legal & General has acquired two BTR sites in Holbeck; Mustard Wharf in 2017, and Tower Works in 2021. Both sites are central to the landmark South Bank regeneration area, and together deliver 500 homes alongside over 16,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.

Commenting on behalf of Ask and Richardson, John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate, added:

“Leeds is a key conurbation, but like many cities its housing supply is severely constrained. We have worked closely with Homes England to deliver a scheme which helps to meet that need and we are very proud to have been able to now mark such a significant milestone in the transformation of this historic site.”

The development, which is designed by Ryder Architects, will provide two new residential buildings with 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and duplexes, ground floor commercial spaces and extensive new areas of public realm.

Tower Works has also recently achieved WiredScore Platinum certification, making it the first residential development in Leeds to attain the globally-recognised verification of infrastructure connectivity. The accreditation means residents will know that their homes have been digitally future-proofed and have the best possible level of connectivity.

Tower Works has a rich industrial history. Established in the 1860s as a steel pin factory for carding and combing in the textile industry, the works closed in 1981 and have been earmarked for regeneration for many years. The original Victorian buildings, designed by Thomas Shaw, are famous for their Italianate influence which is most obvious in the three prominent towers: Verona; Giotto and Little Chimney, a much-loved element of the Leeds skyline and which will be a focal point of the scheme.

The delivery team also includes: engineering firm WSP and project managers and quantity surveyors Faithful and Gould.


This post is based on a press release issued by Sir Robert McAlpine