Wellington Place’s multi-million-pound impact on Yorkshire
Transformed from a low-grade retail park to a multi-million-pound commercial property development, Wellington Place is now one of the most successful City Centre regeneration projects in the UK and has to date contributed a total economic value (GVA) of £200million, according to a newly published independent study.
The in-depth report on the social and economic impact of Wellington Place on the region has been launched today and highlights the pivotal role the development has played in the success of Leeds, creating over 300 construction jobs, facilitating 100 apprenticeship placements and – to date – accounting for over £180million in contractor and subcontractor spend in the city. The site now offers in excess of 800,000 sq. ft. of office and leisure space, which includes bars, restaurants, shops and gyms, in addition to public space.
MEPC’s vision for Wellington Place, defined in collaboration with Leeds City Council in the mid-2000s, was to create a development which celebrates the historic lifting tower on site while providing new high-quality public space to link the City Centre with the West End. True to its vision, the development has earned itself a reputation for being the best place to do business in Leeds, offering exemplary onsite amenities and being a hub of workplace wellbeing activity – the latter supported by a £1.7million investment on its occupier events and benefits programme. The development has also encouraged urban regeneration beyond the boundaries of Wellington Place, helping to reconnect Leeds City Centre with its surrounding areas.
Wellington Place is now home to some of the city’s most prominent businesses including Sky Betting & Gaming, Equifax, Irwin Mitchell, Willis Towers Watson, Ward Hadaway, Mazars and Shulmans. This is in addition to a thriving retailer and leisure presence which includes Sainsburys, Veeno, Sociable Folk, The Good Luck Club, Caffe Nero and L1 Performance.
Since the completion of the first phases of the development, take up of commercial space at Wellington Place has been very strong: 94% of the total development completed to date has been let, while 72% of the total floorspace currently under construction (buildings 4, 7 and 8 Wellington Place) already pre-let.
By 2020, the number of employees working at Wellington Place passed 4,800. The total is expected to rise to over 11,000 when the new regional Government Hub opens, welcoming HMRC and NHS Digital staff from across the region.
Once buildings 7, 8 and 4 Wellington Place are fully occupied, a staggering one in 10 jobs in central Leeds will be based at Wellington Place.
James Dipple, Chief Executive of MEPC, said: “Right from the offset, we were committed to creating something incredibly special in the City Centre of Leeds – a people-first development that was designed in such a way that it actively encouraged its own culture and community. We’ve been true to our word as the development has expanded, retaining outdoor spaces, being sustainably minded and looking after our customers. We’re now halfway through our masterplan and the results of our hard work and commitment to our beliefs has delivered something we can all be extremely proud of.
“The social and economic impact report launched today helps to quantify everything we have achieved to date and it’s an honour to share this with the people who have helped us to get to where we are today. We’re looking forward to even more success in the future as Wellington Place continues to grow and support Leeds’ ambition of being the most prominent city in the north.”
Karen Tyrell, MD of People & Culture at Sky Betting & Gaming, said: “We were one of the first occupiers here at Wellington Place and it’s been fantastic to grow our business with the development. What attracted us to Wellington Place, and what has kept us here for almost a decade, is its beliefs are aligned to our own – an inclusive, people-first approach that puts the wellbeing of its team at the heart of the business. This is what has helped us become one of the biggest and most respected digital employers in Leeds and supports our ambitious growth plans. We arrived in Wellington Place in 2009 with 90 colleagues and now have 1200 people working here in Leeds. We have over 100 live vacancies to fill at present and welcome our colleagues at The Stars Group who have already taken a space in our offices at Wellington Place.”
Meanwhile, work continues across the site. Number 7 & 8 Wellington Place is due to for completion at the end 2019. Number 4 Wellington Place is also under construction and will offer 156,000 sq. ft of Grade A office, retail and leisure space when it opens in 2020. Thereafter, the next phase of the masterplan will be revealed in the coming months with plans for the next stage of the build schedule announced.
Key facts from the report:
o 100 apprenticeships undertaken and completed during construction, supporting a lifetime earnings uplift of £6.1m
o 90% of occupiers have expanded since moving to Wellington Place
o 60% of jobs taken by Leeds residents
o Total wellbeing benefits of around £1.7m per annum
o 65% of all Grade A space delivered in Central Leeds since 2009 has been at Wellington Place
o 1,000 tonnes of CO2 savings due to energy efficiency of buildings
o Supported the wider community via local good causes including, Sue Ryder, Yorkshire MESMAC, Martin House Hospice and Breast Cancer Haven.