Up to 300 jobs planned for redevelopment of Drapers Yard in Leeds's South Bank into a new Labcorp medical facility

Plans to redevelop a vacant industrial building in the heart of Leeds's historic industrial quarter have been submitted in a move which could create up to 300 healthcare jobs.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:08 pm

CEG has submitted a planning application seeking to revitalise Drapers Yard on Marshall Street in Leeds for Labcorp, a global diagnostics and drug development company at the heart of life-science innovation in Leeds.

Labcorp currently operates out of two sites in Leeds and plans to consolidate the team into one building for more efficient, collaborative working, as well as having the opportunity to double in size, retaining and creating almost 300 highly skilled scientific and healthcare jobs in the city.

If approved it could be operational by summer 2022 and would include a 100-bed clinic, pharmacy and Labcorp’s UK office headquarters.

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How Drapers Yard could be transformed.

Labcorp delivers medical research projects and has worked on most of the available COVID-19 vaccines. It is currently involved in more than 400 studies for COVID-19 globally and it said the new facility offers an exciting opportunity to offer enhanced scientific outcomes and clinical trial testing, something which has become all the more vital during the current pandemic.

“The new Covance by Labcorp facility will be a gold standard clinical pharmacology investigational unit, commensurate with the outstanding global reputation of the UK Life Sciences sector,” said Oren Cohen, M.D., chief medical officer and general manager, Clinical Pharmacology Services at Covance by Labcorp.

“The new facility will allow us to continue our important work to test next-generation medicines that may improve health and improve lives in an exciting new environment that highlights the growing role of Leeds as a leader in life sciences."

The move would see Drapers Yard dramatically transformed with a new façade, roof top amenity space with a green, sedum roof and new landscaping and planting on Marshall Street and Sweet Street.

At the heart of the Temple area of Leeds City Centre, biodiversity will be enhanced and the setting of heritage assets protected, including the adjacent Grade 1 Listed Temple Works.

It will provide employment opportunities and kick start high value economic development. Drapers Yard is located within the Temple masterplan area where CEG, alongside Leeds City Council, are bringing forward further development. Here, there is the potential to provide some 4 million sq ft of high quality accommodation with Temple Works as its heart as a cultural centrepiece.

Antonia Martin-Wright, head of investment at CEG, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to deliver a UK Centre of Excellence for Labcorp. It will be a sustainable and energy efficient development, designed with occupant well-being in mind.

“It will bring a welcome economic boost to Temple supporting the city’s post-covid recovery plans and helping to create a cluster for science, knowledge and innovation. The commitment to the site will also help to build further confidence that this is a fantastic business destination, just minutes from Leeds City Station, helping to attract future inward investment opportunities.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a hugely-exciting piece of news for Leeds, and one that will strengthen the city’s reputation as a place where cutting-edge tech and a sense of history come together to positive effect.

“We already have an unrivalled health ecosystem, with four out of five NHS national offices being based here. In addition, Leeds is home to one of the largest concentrations of medical device companies in the UK and a rich pool of health, science and digital talent.

“Labcorp’s medical research, drug development and clinical trial testing can change lives and Leeds’s supporting role in this work is a real source of pride. The commitment to retaining and creating high-quality jobs in the city is also a timely boost as we begin our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Furthermore, Labcorp’s choice of Drapers Yard is testament to the impressive momentum being generated in both the Temple district and the wider South Bank area, which is one of the largest city centre regeneration schemes in the country. The many transformative projects taking shape here include a collaboration between the council and CEG that is designed to bring Temple Works back into sustainable long-term use.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “I am delighted that our longstanding relationship with Labcorp is further strengthened as they continue to invest here. Their new facility will drive forward the efficacy of clinical trials, improving the effectiveness of medicines that will have impacts on the health of populations across the globe. This new facility at Drapers Yard places Labcorp at the heart of the city’s Temple District, connecting the city centre to the southern districts of Leeds and creating a vibrant, smart city."