Leeds property developer CEG sprung a surprise today when it announced it had agreed terms to buy the city’s historic Temple Works building.
The privately-owned former flax mill, on Marshall Street in Holbeck, was due to be one of the lots at an auction taking place at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground tomorrow.
But late this afternoon CEG revealed it had done a deal to purchase the site, which is currently lying vacant and has fallen into a poor state of repair.
The amount paid by the developer is not being disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
Experts have previously said that the cost of stabilising and refurbishing Temple Works could be more than £20m.
Leeds City Council, which would handle future planning applications relating to the Grade I listed building, also issued a statement earlier this week saying it will seek to ensure that its “important characteristics” are preserved.
CEG development director Jon Kenny said today: “We are pleased to become the custodian of an important element of the city’s historic culture and look forward to working with Leeds City Council to progress the regeneration of this challenging site.”
CEG, the company behind Leeds’s Kirkstall Forge development, said it would be exploring “creative and innovative ideas” to bring Temple Works back into use.
Fashion brand Burberry until recently had an option to transform the building and nearby land into manufacturing facilities.
The scheme would have involved an overall investment of more than £50m and was expected to provide around 1,000 jobs.
But the much-trumpeted plans were put on hold in the wake of the Brexit referendum, with the option being allowed to lapse in July.
Temple Works is in Leeds’s South Bank regeneration area, near a site off Globe Road and Water Lane where CEG is seeking planning permission for a £350m mixed-use development.
It was constructed in the 1830s and famously designed to resemble the Temple of Horus in the Egyptian city of Edfu.
The site was part of the Kays catalogue business from the 1950s until 2004 and then had a spell staging cultural events.
It was listed for sale at tomorrow’s auction with no reserve price, meaning it could technically have gone for as little as one pound.