Regeneration boost for historic Tower Works
Regeneration plans for Holbeck Urban Village have received a boost with a number of developers coming forward with proposals to regenerate the iconic Tower Works site.
The Leeds City Council and Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have been working together to use assets they both own at the Tower Works site to kick start regeneration in Holbeck Urban Village. Ccompetitions to select partners to re-develop the historic site commenced in the Spring.
Interested developers were able to make first round bids for a HCA controlled lot to re-develop the HCA sites, and a Leeds Council controlled lot for the re-development of the listed Engine House building.
Now, after the first round of evaluation and very high levels of interest, four developers have been shortlisted to take part in the next stage of the procurement process for the HCA sites and four developers have also been shortlisted to bid for the Leeds City Council owned Engine House.
With strong competitions secured, shortlisted bidders are to now prepare their development proposals for delivering regeneration at the site ahead of further evaluation.
The Tower Works is a key and historic site in the city’s 136 hectare South Bank area – one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe anchored around the proposed HS2 station - and includes the grade II listed Engine House and three iconic Italianate towers. Regenerating the important site is considered to be a major way to boost regeneration of neighboring sites that had stalled during the recession.
As part of the next stages of the competitions, a detailed planning statement has been approved by the Local Planning Authority. This sets out the planning policy requirements of the site and the design quality that bidders are expected to achieve to achieve the city’s regeneration objectives.
Leeds City Council executive board member for transport and the economy, Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“I’m pleased with the high levels of interest in this site which clearly shows the growing confidence in Holbeck Urban Village. Securing new development at the Tower Works is very important and will be the catalyst that kick-starts further regeneration in the area, securing new investment and jobs. In particular, development at Tower Works can encourage landowners at neighbouring derelict sites to bring their sites forward for development and can support wider aspirations for growth in the South Bank. ”
Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, Councillor Peter Gruen, said:
“The Tower Works site is of great heritage and the Towers are true icons of the Leeds skyline. As a site within a conservation area, our planning statement focusses on sympathetic development that respects the listed buildings, high quality design and sustainable mixed use development which we hope will help guide the bidders in developing proposals that achieve the city’s aspirations for this area.”
Naz Parkar, Executive Director for North East Yorkshire and the Humber at the HCA, said:
“The redevelopment of the Tower Works site is of vital importance to the local economy in Leeds, offering a high quality mixed use development opportunity that will draw fresh private investment into the area.”
Notes to Editors
The HCA and Council both own assets at the 1.01 hectare Tower Works development site – the HCA being the major landowner – with the Council owning the Grade II listed Engine House and three Italianate Towers. The HCA is disposing of all its land as part of this exercise, with the Council disposing of the Engine House and retaining the Italianate Towers
In February 2014, Leeds City Council’s Executive Board agreed that the Council use a procurement method to dispose of the Engine House in a joint exercise with the HCA. It was agreed that there be a HCA controlled lot for HCA assets and a lot for the LCC assets with two separate but complementary competitions to select a developer for each lot.
Holbeck Urban Village is a major location for the creative and digital sector and has 150 businesses and 2,500 people working there and it is hoped that the competition will help stimulate further regeneration aspirations in the area.
It is expected that the bidder competitions will conclude by the end of the year and a preferred bidder will be selected by the HCA in November 2014 and by the Council in January 2015 for the Engine House.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council communications team (0113) 247 5472