INVESTOR INTEREST in the South Bank area of Leeds is soaring as landowners prepare to sell sites of strategic importance to the regeneration of the city.
The former industrial heartland has been promoted as one of the best regeneration opportunities in Europe.
The local authority wants to transform the area into a 21st century community with family friendly homes, open spaces and transport connections linking to the new train station for HS2, the high-speed rail link between London and the North of England.
The Igloo Regeneration Fund is putting the Round Foundry and Marshalls Mill on the market with a price tag of around £30m.
The buildings are home to many dynamic young companies specialising in technology and creative and digital industries.
Igloo, a partnership of pension, life and charity funds managed by Aviva Investors, has helped drive the regeneration of Holbeck over the last decade.
It is believed that the company now wants to invest in early-stage regeneration opportunities elsewhere.
Another strategic site has been snapped up by investors. Royal Bank of Scotland has sold a portfolio of seven sites in Holbeck to Commercial Estates Group for nearly £10m.
The state-owned lender held the assets in its West Register property arm.
Speaking in February, Helen Gordon, global head of real estate asset management at RBS, said: “The portfolio represents an extremely attractive and unique opportunity to purchase a prime development site in central Leeds with an existing planning consent.”
It is not known what Commercial Estates Group plans to do with the sites and the company did not respond to calls for comment.
Most intriguingly, Carlsberg is said by three separate sources to have put its 22-acre Tetley Brewery site on the market. The asking price is said to be £35m.
The site is one of the most important parts of the South Bank area and is believed to have attracted interest from parties including Leeds City Council, Asda and Vastint, the property division of Ikea. There are 11 interested parties in total and bids are being sought by July 21, The Yorkshire Post understands.
Carlsberg UK did not respond to calls for comment.
With the potential disposal of major sites in the area, questions are being asked about the overarching vision for the South Bank to make the most of the development opportunities.
Concerns have also been raised about developers paying too much for land and being unable to make the numbers add up for profitable schemes and sitting on sites and stalling regeneration efforts.
The local authority will be keen on seeing schemes that have good quality development and delivery.