LUXURY brand Burberry’s decision to create a £50m manufacturing and weaving facility in Leeds will help to attract a new generation of top class textile designers, according to the leader of Leeds City Council.
Coun Judith Blake said she had already been contacted by local universities who wanted to help provide a supply of skilled textile workers.
Ms Blake said Burberry’s announcement was an “extraordinary statement by an iconic global brand”.
She believes it will have positive knock on-effects on a host of other sectors, including IT services, transport and logistics.
“It’s incredible recognition for Leeds and the wider city region,’’ she said.
Burberry plans to employ more than 1,000 people at a new manufacturing and weaving facility for its heritage trench coat in the heart of Leeds.
Burberry said that work on the site, in the South Bank of Leeds, is due to begin in 2016 with an initial investment of £50m.
The facility is expected to be completed in 2019.
The new facility will replace the two existing manufacturing and weaving centres in Castleford and Cross Hills, in West Yorkshire.
The plan is for all the teams from Castleford and Cross Hills to move to the new site, bringing all employees together under one roof.
The company employs 700 staff in Castleford and around 70 in Cross Hills.
The first phase of development will see an area of the South Bank site redeveloped to create a new facility that will offer increased capacity for trench coat production.
Later phases of development include plans to restore and renew the Grade I listed Temple Works building.
The announcement was also welcomed by Gerald Jennings, the president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce, who said: “It reinforces the South Bank proposition as one of the North of England’s great locations for business.
“I am sure that Temple Works’ proximity to the north’s busiest rail station and the regional motorway network will have been an important factor in choosing this site and I wish Burberry every success as they come to Leeds.”
Richard Corby, the director, for corporate advisory services at Lambert Smith Hampton in Leeds, said Burberry’s announcement “gives real impetus to the regeneration of the South Bank, soon to be followed by the development of the 21-acre Tetley’s Brewery site following the purchase of it by our client Vastint last month”.
Mr Corby added: “By retaining such an iconic global brand in the region, it adds further weight to the growing influence of the Northern Powerhouse.”
Eamon Fox, partner and head of office agency at global property consultancy Knight Frank in Leeds, told The Yorkshire Post: “The news that Burberry is relocating its manufacturing facility to Leeds’ South Bank is another indication that the renaissance of this historic area of the city is now in full swing.
“The re-development of Tower Works, the £31.5m sale of the iconic mixed-use Round Foundry and the acquisition of The Mint office building by Patron Capital all testify to the growing significance of South Bank to the city’s thriving economy.
“So, too, does the acquisition of The Holbeck portfolio, a collection of prime development sites in the heart of South Bank, by Commercial Estates Group (CEG) for £9.6m.
“These are huge endorsements of the area.
“South Bank symbolises the regeneration of post-recession Leeds, breathing new life into a pivotal area of the city, so full of potential, just south of the station. It also provides a crucial north-south link to the bustling, thriving business and retail core of Leeds.”