Arup to move Leeds base to Wellington Place after 30 per cent growth in two years

Global sustainable development consultancy signals ‘vote of confidence’ in future of Leeds and West Yorkshire

New offices at 11 & 12 Wellington Place are among the most sustainable in the UK

Employee-owned consultancy Arup has demonstrated its commitment to the long-term future of Leeds and West Yorkshire as it announces it will move into a new home at 11 & 12 Wellington Place.

Arup will expand into 36,000 sq ft of office space at 11 & 12 Wellington Place, officially confirmed as one of the UK’s most sustainable new developments and part of the MEPC-developed leading urban quarter, in late 2023.

With more than 480 engineers, planners, digital experts and technical specialists in the city, Arup has seen a 30 per cent growth in Leeds-based staff joining over the last two years, including more than 90 apprentices and graduates.

As a result of this growth and to support its future ambitions in the city, Arup will move from its current Leeds office to the much larger space at 11 & 12 Wellington Place, helping to further strengthen its relationships with clients, collaborators, innovators, entrepreneurs, local leaders, civic institutions and the wider community.

The firm has made a major contribution to the growth and development of Leeds and Yorkshire since opening its office in 1989 working on leading digital, property, energy, rail and highways schemes supporting the regeneration of the North of England.

Specialists across Arup – including experts in electrical and mechanical engineering, and sustainability – worked closely with MEPC to help design and deliver 11 & 12 Wellington Place.

(From left) Craig Havenhand, Arup; Dominique Murray and Paul Pavia, MEPC / Wellington Place; Alex Renton and Tom Bridges, Arup; Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire; Selina Rai, Arup; and Arup apprentices Lewis Triggs, Jess Cook and Hollie Geeson.

Earlier this year they became the first buildings outside London, and only the fourth in the UK, to achieve the prestigious NABERS UK Design for Performance rating 5 stars or above, setting a new standard for sustainable office design not just in Leeds and West Yorkshire, but across the country.

The major letting to Arup follows other prominent additions to the Wellington Place development over recent months, including Wrigleys Solicitors and independent investment management firm Redmayne Bentley. Plans for 9 Wellington Place, which will provide 176,413 sq ft of office and 6,851 sq ft of ground floor retail and leisure space were also recently given the green light by Leeds City Council.

Tom Bridges, Arup’s Leeds office leader, said: “This is a vote of confidence in Leeds and West Yorkshire as a hub for dynamic, knowledge-based business – as well as in the future of the office and city centres as places of collaboration and innovation.

“We look forward to continuing to use our experience and expertise to find solutions to the big challenges facing Leeds and West Yorkshire in the years to come – including accelerating economic growth, tackling climate change, modernising infrastructure, reducing economic inequality, supporting entrepreneurship, harnessing new technology and creating more inclusive cities.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor, other civic, business and community leaders to help deliver a bright and prosperous future for West Yorkshire.”

Paul Pavia, development director at MEPC, said: “As a leading global firm of designers and advisors, we are delighted to welcome Arup to the Wellington Place community. Having worked closely together on the pioneering 11 & 12 buildings it feels only natural that a company recognised worldwide for its dedication to sustainable development would then take space in them.

“Arup shares our passion for Leeds, having worked on a number of significant projects across the city, and we’re looking forward to supporting its plans for growth and working with the team to further boost Leeds’s reputation as a key northern powerhouse and a fantastic business base.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “It is fantastic that Arup is expanding its operations in Leeds, and it was a pleasure to meet some of its apprentices and graduates recently at its new Wellington Place home.

“Roles created by companies like Arup support our drive towards a green economy, and investment like this will help drive forward our regional growth.”

Jeff Pearey, head of UK regional office agency and Yorkshire / North East regions at JLL, acted for Wellington Place on the letting. Iain Cairns of BNP Paribas Real Estate represented Arup.

Arup has been involved in a number of flagship projects across Yorkshire including: the transformation of Leeds City Square; Bradford’s City Park, Huddersfield’s Cultural Heart, Emley Moor Tower (still the UK’s largest freestanding structure), Hepworth Wakefield, York Central, Leeds South Bank, the modernisation of the University of Leeds campus, the Leeds Hospitals of the Future project, the innovative Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme and an investment programme to tackle fuel poverty. Arup’s Leeds team also exports its expertise around the world – working on projects from Shanghai and Sydney to Peru.

It also strongly supports regional not-for-profit initiatives: it was a partner in Bradford’s successful bid for UK City of Culture 2025, is a corporate partner of Leeds Community Foundation and Give Bradford, a sponsor of NorthInvest, and supports Leeds participation in MIT REAP (a global initiative to boost innovation and start-ups).