Bold plan for rebirth of YEP’s former Leeds headquarters

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FOUR thousand people could live or work on the former home of your Yorkshire Evening Post under plans to turn the site into a thriving riverside community.

The mixed use development in the heart of Leeds could include company head offices, a top class hotel, a residential tower, restaurants and open spaces for visitors who want to admire the riverside views. Fox Lloyd Jones, who are acting as agents for the landowners, have been talking to Government departments, utility firms and media companies who have “live requirements” for office space in Leeds, and, if planning permission is granted, the first occupants could move on to the site during 2017. The iconic tower, the only part of the old site still standing, is being re-clad and could be incorporated into one of the new buildings. The site was acquired in early 2014 by YP Real Estate for an estimated £2m and the buildings, which included the offices and the print works of The Yorkshire Evening Post, have been demolished, leaving a prime five-acre development site.

The application includes plans for three detached HQ office buildings positioned along the inner ring road frontage, together with a 200-unit residential block, which will be targeted at the private rental market.

Paul Fox, of Fox Lloyd Jones, said the scheme could incorporate a new hotel if required. He added: “It’s a gateway site with lots of history.”

He said Leeds needed a good destination hotel, and if the city wanted its own version of Manchester’s iconic Lowry Hotel, then this could be the ideal location for it.

“The lack of activity during the recession years created a shortage of space for people who required it,’’ he added. “It’s now a ‘space race’ to get buildings up to meet requirements. We are looking to build high quality apartments designed for long-term rentals.”

The proposed buildings will only occupy 60 per cent of the site, which means there will be space to provide links with neighbouring schemes, such as the MEPC development at Wellington Place. To support the on-site population, which could reach 4,000 workers and residents, the planned scheme includes a range of convenience stores and leisure facilities.

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LANDMARK BUILDING

The Yorkshire Evening Post and The Yorkshire Post were based on a purpose-built site in Wellington Street, in Leeds from 1970 until 2012. Although the building’s design wasn’t to everyone’s taste, it was a landmark on the Leeds skyline.

The two newspapers moved to the building on September 28, 1970. The £5m project was completed on a site on the banks of the River Aire.

Previously, operations had centred on the junction of Commercial Street and Albion Street.

The building was opened in 1970 by Prince Charles and housed more than 1,300 staff.

The building’s clock tower became one of the best known landmarks on the Leeds skyline.

The Yorkshire Evening Post and The Yorkshire Post are now based at No1 Leeds on Whitehall Road in Leeds.

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