MEMBERS of Leeds City Council’s city plans panel heaped praise on ambitious new proposals to transform a city centre landmark ravaged by fire.
Leeds-based property company Rushbond gave a presentation on the scheme to transform the Majestic at today’s meeting of Leeds City Council’s city plans panel.
The Majestic in City Square was built as a cinema in 1922 and more recently used as a bingo hall, and then nightclub, before a devastating fire in 2014.
The scheme that would see the building transformed into a 65,000 sq ft office development topped off by an iconic new roof won praise among panel members.
Coun Neil Walshaw (Labour/Headingley), said: “This is an excellent proposal. I think it pays homage to the building that was there. It is also forward looking and sensitive to the area. I think it’s wonderful.”
Coun Stuart McKenna (Labour/Garforth and Swillington), said: “It looks a little bit like the Royal Albert Hall, it’s fantastic.”
Coun Peter Gruen (Labour/Cross Gates and Whinmoor), said: “Fabulous. The design and the look is great.”
Coun Graham Latty (Conservative/Guiseley and Rawdon), said: “I think it’s first class.”
City plans panel chairman Coun Jim McKenna (Lavbour/Armley), said: “It will be a credit to the city.”
Rushbond director Mark Finch, said: “The fire was a truly sad and devastating episode in the building’s life and traumatic for all those involved.
“Our focus is now on making the building once again majestic, so that it can truly contribute to the future economic prosperity of the city.”
The plans would see the ground floor being used as office, leisure and cafe spaces, with a grand three-storey height space offering a stunning new entrance into the building.
New floors would be inserted into the building and an iconic new crown roof created.
Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake, said: “The Majestic is an iconic landmark in the very heart of Leeds and is held in affection by many people in our city, so I’m really pleased to see these exciting new plans taking shape.
“I welcome the collaborative approach Rushbond have taken with this project, ensuring that the views of the city have been fed into the design to retain the essential character of this much loved-building.
“This distinctive and high-quality development will attract international interest. Leeds city centre continues to thrive, with major schemes like this demonstrating a high level of confidence in the city’s growing economy and our ambitions for the future.”
Gerald Jennings, President at Leeds Chamber of Commerce, added: “I am really pleased to see the new plans for the Majestic. This is an important building and landmark in the heart of the city and has a vital role in the ongoing commercial success of Leeds.
“Its location on City Square and opposite the railway station emphasise the ability the Majestic has to help shape the public space and act as a welcome beacon for those who come to Leeds to work or visit. Significant developments like this demonstrate the ability Leeds has to attract major investment and Rushbond are to be applauded in bringing such an innovative scheme forward.”
A planning application is set to be submitted next month and construction work could start early next year subject to planning permission.