Dirk provides new lease of life for historic Leeds mill complex

Dirk Mischendahl.
Dirk Mischendahl.
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WHEN entrepreneur Dirk Mischendahl was head of events company Logistik, he regularly cycled past an empty Grade II listed Victorian mill near his work and admired its historical beauty.

When the building came up for sale in 2013 he jumped at the chance of buying it and transforming it into a hub for creative businesses.

“I’d had an idea for a while that I wanted to encourage small businesses and give them the opportunity to grow,” he said. “I want to mix creative businesses with larger organisations and create a community.”

Mr Mischendahl bought Castleton Mill, a former textile mill on the Leeds Liverpool Canal in Armley, from receivers and has so far spent £2.2m developing it. The building, which dates back to 1836, is about 80 per cent complete.

“It’s been a bigger project than I thought it would be,” admitted Mr Mischendahl, who has a 50 per cent stake in the building.

“But it’s a phenomenal building and I wanted to do a good job, keeping as many original features as possible.”

The sandstone floors have been put back down using reclaimed Yorkshire stone at the cost of £100,000 per floor. Other original features include vaulted ceilings, original wooden beams and large open windows.

The 15,000 sq ft workspace is already 40 per cent let to firms including the PR company Chatter, graphic design agency B&W, and stationery company, Prints with Feelings.

About 20-30 people currently work in the building but at capacity there could be 300 people based there.

A reception area is due to be completed this week and the building will be officially launched to the market in September with rents from £30 per person per week.

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PIC: Simon Hulme

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