Asda looks set to buy the Tetley’s brewery site at the centre of Leeds, the YEP understands.
Talks could lead to the supermarket chain taking over the entire 22 acre site, in Hunslet, following its five-year temporary use as a gallery, green space and 900-space car park.
A source close to discussions between Asda and Carlsberg, which owns the site, has revealed Asda’s “huge interest” in the land that has led to them being given first option to buy.
It is thought that following the sale, Asda House, in Great Wilson Street, would be relocated to the site.
The source, who did not want to be named, told the YEP: “In overall terms I expect Asda to use it as an opportunity to build on something they did 30 years ago – it was ground breaking to be that side of the river but the world’s moved on.”
He said if Asda vacated its current site seven acre site, Leeds City Council’s ambitions for a large city park could be realised there.
Demolition of 37 buildings on the site of the historic brewery site is expected to finish in mid-July.
John Rowe, chairman of Leeds Campaign for Real Ale, said: “Turn it into some soulless, basic call centre and administration office for an American-owned chain of supermarkets seems very much a kick in the face for the citizens of Leeds.”
Development at the brewery would fit into a revamp of 40 acres of land on the south side of the River Aire, known as the Leeds South Bank, to create housing, jobs and green space. An informal masterplan to help guide future development in the area was adopted by the council last year.
The project will also include land owned by Asda, the council, and Northern Irish developer McAleer and Rushe.
As part of this the council consulted with South Bank landowners, over plans for an up to 12acre city centre park.
Dr Kevin Grady, director of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “For the city centre park to go ahead in the longer term it was one of those things that Asda moving locations would be rather helpful towards, so it would not be inconceivable that a move like that would happen.”
He said Asda probably wouldn’t need all of the 22 acre site, which has been valued at £65million. It is though the super market chain would sell off what they don’t need when the market picks up.
Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for development, said: “We remain committed to the agreed planning framework for the city’s South Bank – which includes housing and offices as well as a city park.”
A Carlsberg UK spokeswoman said: “Carlsberg UK continues to look at opportunities for the future of the Tetley’s site.”
Asda declined to comment.