For nearly 50 years it was the biggest social housing complex in the country, home to thousands of people and a considered to be one of Leeds’s more down-at-heel areas.
However plans are now underway to breath new life into Quarry Hill with the creation of new apartments, office space and a luxury hotel in the heart of what is increasingly becoming the city’s cultural quarter.
The first phase of Caddick Developments’ plan to revamp the six-acre site is launched today which will see the construction of two apartment blocks providing 515 purpose-built rental flats, one of the biggest housing development programmes in the city centre in the last decade.
Designed by DLG Architects, the homes will be spread across two 16-storey blocks and will also feature extensive gardens which will be open to the public during the day and private in the evening. The flats will range from small studios to three bedroom units and the development will also contain a range of on-site shared amenities free for all residents to use, including co-working space, residents’ lounges with roof terraces, a fitness centre and cycle café.
The development will take place in the area between the Quarry House building and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, replacing the old car park. Caddick expects to begin construction in the Spring of next year.
Myles Hartley, managing director, told the YEP: “We knew the city would move in this direction with Victoria Gate and the new Leeds City College. We feel the time is right to start development from our perspective.
“The vision is to create a game-changing next chapter for Quarry Hill which is going to include some fantastic public realm.
“We see public realm as being critical and at the heart of what we do. Leeds needs more open spaces.
“Leeds is a fantastic city. We do a lot of work in Leeds.
“We want to create the destination in its first phase.”
All of the apartments are specifically designed for rental, something Mr Hartley said illustrates his firm’s long-term commitment to the project and follows a
model established in North America, where clusters of professionally managed apartments designed specifically for rent have been around for decades.
Four other commercial blocks will be delivered in later phases, with car parking, office spaces, further apartments and a hotel in particular among the areas the developers are keen to see constructed.
Mr Hartley said: “We have a strong desire to deliver a really high quality and unique brand of hotel right in front of the playhouse.
“We are talking to a number of really interesting operators, particularly out of London.
“We hope if those discussions go well we could be on site next year and deliver a really great hotel for Leeds.”
Sarah Friskney, senior development surveyor at Caddick Developments, said: “Quality housing and work space are crucial to Leeds’ ambitions to being a core part of the Northern Powerhouse, and we look forward to working closely with the city council.”
The scheme from Caddick continues the widespread redevelopment of that part of Leeds city centre.
As well as Victoria Gate Leeds City College has also started construction of a new £57m facility in the area while the West Yorkshire Playhouse is pushing ahead with its £14m redevelopment plans which will include a new entrance facing Victoria Gate. The developers also intend to improve the pedestrian crossing arrangements over St Peter’s Street.