Green light for redevelopment of significant Leeds city centre building

Planning permission has been granted to transform 34 Boar Lane in the heart of Leeds into a high-quality office and retail / leisure experience building.

Leeds City Council have given the go-ahead for ambitious plans to position the 56,000 sq ft building into one of the most dynamic mixed-use destinations in Leeds.

Owners LJ Real Estate recently bought the 34 Boar Lane for £9.58 million from Regional REIT, managed by London & Scottish Investments.

34 Boar Lane, formerly CGU House, is located immediately opposite the railway station and Trinity Leeds shopping centre.

Eamon Fox, Partner and Head of Office Agency at Knight Frank Leeds, who are marketing the building, commented: “This is tremendous news. We collaborated with LJ Real Estate for over three years to find the correct property in Leeds to buy and now we have got the go-ahead to fulfil our vision.

“34 Boar Lane will be substantially redeveloped and will look to incorporate the principles of a diverse community of like-minded people shaping a place together, with connected environments: digitally, physically, socially, but within a design-led, tech-savvy quality space for occupiers to work in.

“We have ambitious plans for 34 Boar Lane, as we look to transform this well-positioned building into an exciting workplace at the forefront of the Leeds market. Be prepared, we are planning something very special.

“Specifically we are looking at internationally-renowned retailer/leisure operators to take the 10,000 sq ft ground floor and also have plans for three amazing penthouse suites.

“We have been on site for six months dealing with strip out of the old building and now planning permission has been granted, acclaimed London-based contractors Oktra are pushing fast towards the finish. We expect the work to be completed and the building ready during May 2019,” said Mr Fox.

LJ Real Estate aim to create a “collaborative environment that offers its resident businesses top-quality and characterful, design-led office space with top-of-the-range technology as well an exciting range of restaurants and shops.”

The team developing 34 Boar Lane is led by directors Sam Lawson Johnston and George Haddo – the driving forces behind the family-backed investment group LJ Real Estate – whose portfolio includes a unique cluster of five historic buildings that make up The Albert Estate and nearby Canada House in Manchester.

Sam Lawson Johnston said: “We are excited to transform this building into a contemporary workspace with top technology, character and a great culture, which will be fit for the many dynamic businesses basing themselves in Leeds.”

LJ Real Estate is a dedicated team (within LJ Partnership) which focusses on UK Cities, which actively invests its own funds and that of entrepreneurs and wealthy families in the real estate sector. It has a strong track record of acquiring and transforming well-located commercial properties.

George Haddo added: “People and organisations thrive as part of a community – the opportunity to build a sense of place is at the centre of what we do when we buy and refurbish buildings. It means that the city’s heritage lives on for future”.

Eamon Fox commented: “This project is a game changer and our purchase of 34 Boar Lane is another excellent example of the strength and buoyancy of the Leeds office and investment market. Last year all sorts of records were broken in this sector and this year has been exceptional, too. “

Mr Fox added: “The outlook is very bright. Leeds is very well-connected; its retail offer is superb; and the quality of life in the city is far superior to London. There is every reason to be optimistic and no reason to think that recent office statistics were simply a never-to-be-repeated flash in the pan. With investors’ money ready and waiting, 2019 promises to be another exciting and successful year for the Leeds office market.”