A first phase of the prestigious new Eastgate Quarters development in Leeds, which includes a flagship John Lewis store, could be open by autumn 2016.
Developer Hammerson announced today that it had agreed a revised terms with John Lewis for a 24,000 square metre (260,000 sq ft) anchor store on the site.
The new store will form part of Harewood, the first phase of Eastgate Quarters, which will create two new retail streets drawing on Leeds’ thriving arcade heritage and introduce a direct route from the Victoria Quarter to the new development at Harewood.
The first phase will be designed by Acme, who will deliver the flagship John Lewis building and up to 30 retail units for high-end and aspirational brands. This will be accompanied by up to six restaurants and additional leisure space. There are also plans for a multi-storey car park on the site of the current Millgarth police station.
Last week senior councillors agreed to buy the Millgarth site, currently owned by the West Yorkshire Police Authority, when West Yorkshire Police move to their new divisional headquarters at Elland Road, due to be completed in 2014. Their city centre neighbourhood policing base and public contact point will also be relocating.
Work on the detailed design for the £110million first phase of Eastgate Quarters will begin this autumn, with Hammerson indicating that they will be submitting a detailed planning application in spring 2013. Subject to planning approval, work will start in summer 2014, with the launch of Harewood in autumn 2016.
When it is fully completed Eastgate Quarters will accommodate around 99,000 square metres (1 million sq ft) of new retail and leisure space.
Leeds is already the top shopping destination in Yorkshire. Eastgate Quarters will allow the retail sector to expand and compete with cities throughout Britain. This announcement coupled with the soon to be delivered Trinity development will move Leeds up in the retail rankings to a position befitting a major core city.
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
“This announcement is excellent news for the city centre and for Leeds as a whole. All the parties have been working behind the scenes for some months now to facilitate an agreement which enables work to begin on this important development. So to know that we now have a clear timetable from Hammerson is really exciting.
“Eastgate Quarters is a hugely significant development for the city which will enable our retail sector to compete with other British cities and attract international visitors and investors. It will bring thousands of new visitors to the city as well as creating a significant number of jobs for local people. “
David Atkins, chief executive for Hammerson said:
“Leeds has an excellent reputation for high end shopping and bringing John Lewis to the city will reinforce Leeds’ position amongst both retailers and shoppers. I’m confident that the quality of the scheme and the strength of catchment means we will see encouraging demand from aspirational and luxury retailers currently absent from Leeds’ shopping scene.”
Jeremy Collins, property director, John Lewis said:
“This is a significant step forward in bringing John Lewis closer to having a retail presence in Leeds. We firmly believe the development will successfully regenerate the area and lift the city to a new level in the hierarchy of UK shopping destinations."
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