MEPC is preparing to tender for contractors to kick-start development of its Wellington Place scheme before the end of the year.
Rich de Blaby, chief executive of the property company, said he is in talks with six or seven prospective occupiers for Wellington Place.
Six professional services firms in Leeds are known to have issued requirements for new office space. They are accountants PwC and law firms Walker Morris, Squire Sanders, DAC Beachcroft and Shulmans.
He is in competition for their covenants with rival developers at Whitehall Plaza, City Square, Broadgate and Sovereign Square, where KPMG has committed to a pre-let development.
MEPC, which owns, managers and develops property, sold Granta science park in Cambridge in June for around £127m.
Mr de Blaby said: “We have quite a lot of cash in the business. Part of the reason for doing that was to have available money to carry out development programmes within the estate, the most demanding of which is Leeds in terms of capital.
“This is where we have our most ambitious development plans.”
The message today is that he is working hard to be “shovel ready” by the end of the year; MEPC is going out to tender in the next couple of weeks to find a contractor.
“I have not definitely said I’m going to build it,” he said. “But it’s likely.”
MEPC shelved its plans for Wellington Place following the financial crisis. But a series of new requirements for office space in the city could kick-start development with a total investment value exceeding £100m.
Mr de Blaby said: “These lease events are a big deal for Leeds. If you look at 2014, 2015, 2016, there are quite a lot coming through with nobody adding to supply in the city. That produces some exciting market dynamics.
“That’s absolutely underpinning our confidence in Wellington Place.”