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Victoria Gate takes Leeds City Region retail investment beyond £1bn mark

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20 Oct 2016

The opening of the Victoria Gate shopping centre has taken investment in the Leeds City Region’s retail sector to more than £1bn in just five years, new analysis has revealed.

And as the £165m Victoria Gate shopping scheme launches to the public this week (Thursday, October 20), the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has hailed the City Region as a world class retail investment destination.

Since 2011, more than 2m sq ft of new retail space has been developed across Leeds City Region totalling investment of more than £1bn, the LEP’s research has found.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP, said “the eyes of the world were firmly focused” on Leeds City Region’s retail and leisure offer.

Mr Marsh said: “Leeds City Region undoubtedly stands out as a location that has enjoyed unrivalled rates of investment in recent years and is a truly world class destination for investment in the retail and leisure sector. Victoria Gate is a prime example of this with leading developer Hammerson, retail giant John Lewis and a plethora of aspirational brands committing to the City Region, many for the first time.

“Our own research reveals that more than £1bn has now been invested in retail across the City Region since 2011 and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, alongside other key stakeholders, is playing a significant role in helping to attract the private sector to invest, develop, regenerate and locate here.

“It should be remembered that Leeds City Region has always held a prominent position in the retail sector thanks to established names such as Town Centre Securities. With the recent multi-million pound openings of the Broadway scheme in Bradford, Trinity Leeds, Wakefield Trinity Walk, Vangarde Shopping Park in York, and now Victoria Gate we are now, more than ever, not just one of the UK’s leading shopping destinations, but firmly established as one of Europe’s.”

This retail boom is set to continue with other exciting developments planned or underway, including:

  • Castleford’s £135m Five Towns Park;
  • the £20m transformation of the historic Piece Hall in Halifax;
  • a cinema and leisure-focused extension at Wakefield Trinity Walk;
  • a £13.7m cinema and 25,000 sq ft of new retail units at White Rose Shopping Centre;
  • and Next being named as the anchor tenant for Thorpe Park Leeds’s new 300,000 sq ft shopping and leisure park.

Victoria Gate, the major retail scheme by Hammerson, is anchored by John Lewis’s northern flagship department store as well as a further 30 high-end retail outlets featuring leading British and international brands.

Victoria Gate will become part of the new Victoria Leeds shopping district, which also includes Leeds’s famous Victoria Quarter arcades.

The scheme boasts new retailers and restaurants with the aim of establishing the estate as the largest premium retail and leisure destination outside of London.

Roger Marsh added: “What should always be remembered about schemes of the magnitude of Victoria Gate is that they are many years in the planning. They require firm and ongoing commitment from investors and developers.

“Therefore, it is a major feather in Leeds City Region’s cap for the successful execution of these projects, which have a positive catalytic effect on the community, economy and job creation.”

Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council, commented: “The opening of The Broadway shopping centre in 2015 had a tremendous impact on the city of Bradford; we saw an increase in footfall of over 35% and the city became Yorkshire’s third most visited retail destination. The addition of The Broadway and its forthcoming extension also compliments the city’s independent offer on North Parade; has created over 2,500 permanent jobs and has acted as an impetus for further investment in the city.

“I believe Leeds City Region has one of the most diverse retail offerings within the country and I’m delighted to see that over the last three years we have delivered over 1.6m sq ft of retail.”

Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Wakefield District Council, added: “Wakefield is experiencing a real influx of retail and leisure investment not only in the town centre at Trinity Walks but also at Five Towns Park in Castleford. These investments not only benefit local communities but also the wider City Region and the 7 million people who are within a one hour drive. I’m particularly pleased to see a number of new cinema developments across the City Region come forward, including The Light in Wakefield, which is a direct result of our district’s attendance with Leeds City Region at MIPIM 2016.”