Allied London has submitted a planning application for a massive new workspace building at its Leeds Docks development. ‘The Engine’, dubbed by Allied London CEO Michael Ingall as a ‘super building’, will mirror the format of the recently consented Cotton Building in Manchester.
Allied London has also announced that it is to launch a new water taxi service along with its own Leeds Docks bus service later this year. This will ensure that the district is well-connected with central Leeds and the train station ensuring easy access for commuters and leisure visitors alike.
Ingall said: “The creation of The Engine presents a unique opportunity for Leeds. The market is still recovering but the buildings that are being developed or are lying vacant are ‘one size fits all’ mainstream regional offices. Our view is that the work place has changed and will continue to evolve well beyond what is here today. The Engine addresses this fact and will provide the modern, customisable space that fast paced emerging and corporate businesses desire.
“The volume of this property is vast, it really is a super building. The design and specification benefits we have planned are almost identical to what we are developing from new in Manchester. It is the ultimate flexible building that can suit a number of business uses, it really throws the traditional office textbook out the window. We are being inundated with demand for this workspace model in Manchester and Farringdon so why not Leeds? We already have great interest.”
The Engine will offer over 70,000 sq ft of flexible space and will be created out of the former Alea casino. Current occupiers along the waterfront development include GE Capital, Yorkshire Water, Places for People and marketing company Epiphany.
Ingall added: “Before we submitted consent for The Engine we toured every building and every site in Leeds and a property like this simply does not exist, nor does an environment where people can buy into a real amenity led community. For so many organisations today it’s about creating the right culture and the real estate solution must be capable of supporting that.”
John Cooper, director at Deloitte Real Estate who prepared the planning application, said: “The planning application submitted for The Engine will mean that there is in excess of 300,000 sq ft of designated space for employment use in and around Leeds Dock. In employment terms that could be 3,000 to 5,000 jobs. Combined with the new water taxi and bus links due to start running in summer, a currently under-utilised area of Leeds is destined to become a thriving business and leisure destination.”
Allied London has previously outlined its plans for the area, which include several restaurants, large public realm green spaces and making better use of the canal. Ingall added: “We always said we would commence the relaunch of Leeds Dock in summer 2014 and we are right on track to do that. We have spent a great deal of time carefully planning and engaging with stakeholders and what we now have, I believe, is a very desirable and viable solution. We are engaged with several exciting restaurant concepts and other uses and expect to make further announcements before the summer.”
The relaunch will be marked with a series of water-based events later in the year, announcing the rebirth of an important part of the city.