THE regeneration of Leeds’s South Bank has begun in earnest, with the council putting a key part of the landmark Tower Works on sale.
The historic factory site, with its three iconic towers, was once the beating heart of Leeds’s industrial success, and it is hoped it will be central to its economic rebirth.
The building, which now contains rented offices, is being earmarked as the next big-name big development project in Leeds.
Senior councillors will debate the sale at a meeting of the decision-making cabinet today.
They will be presented with a report which says the decision to sell was made “in light of growing market confidence and high levels of developer interest” in Tower Works.
The report adds that the sale of the Engine House - which once powered the factory’s global manufacturing of steel pins for textiles - will “help kick-start regeneration efforts” in Holbeck Urban Village.
It says initial market testing has shown that the Tower Works site has “significant interest from potential developers and is one of the most attractive development sites in the South Bank”.
Tower Works is owned partly by the council, and partly by the Government.
Leeds City Council currently owns the Engine House and the three Italianate towers. The authority will be retaining the towers as heritage assets. The rest of the site is owned by the Housing and Communities Agency.
Tower Works was previously owned by the now-defunct Yorkshire Forward, who bought it in 2005 and spearheaded an initial phase of development and preparation for the next phase of work.
However both parties now say it is “the right time to bring the site forward as a development opportunity”.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds council’s executive board member for the economy and development, said: “Being able to secure the development of the Tower Works site would be hugely encouraging for Holbeck Urban Village and our aspirations for the regeneration of the South Bank.
“This site could be used for a variety of high quality mixed-use schemes, including residential and employment uses.
“We are confident that developing this site will be the catalyst for the development of neighbouring sites and that it will kick-start further regeneration of this area.
“This part of the city has fantastic potential, especially with longer terms plans for the nearby city centre park and HS2, which would bring incredible investment prospects, as well attracting employment opportunities to the area.
“The site is very close to the new railway station southern entrance which will lead to an additional 20 thousand people to the area each day. With work starting on the southern entrance in the last week and the confidence in this area growing more and more there is a real opportunity to secure new investment and deliver development in the short term at Tower Works.”