WORK on a major out-of-town retail and leisure scheme began today as the developer unveiled Odeon as one of the main tenants.
The development forms part of phase two of Thorpe Park in Leeds, which Scarborough International Properties is building in partnership with Legal & General Capital, following LGC’s £162m funding arrangement last year.
Scarborough hosted a special event with GMI construction to mark the start on site for the 300,000 sq ft park which opens next autumn. Guests were able to view progress on a specially built viewing platform with visitor plaques showing where occupiers will be located.
Meanwhile, Boots also joins the retail line-up after agreeing to take a 15,000 sq ft store next to M&S Simply Food at the 1.65 million sq ft development. Other retailers include TK Maxx and the Outfit.
A further five high street leisure operators are also close to securing space at Thorpe Park Leeds with legal agreements underway.
Odeon has secured a 44,000 sq ft unit for a 10-screen cinema which is to be located adjacent to, and above the boulevard of restaurants within the leisure cluster at Thorpe Park Leeds. Currently, there is no cinema complex serving the East Leeds community with the nearest located in the city centre.
Ken Taylor, group property director at Odeon said: “We have exciting plans to bring a fantastic cinema experience to the East Leeds community. Odeon in Thorpe Park Leeds will have state-of-the-art screen and audio technology, our latest luxury seats, and our very best hospitality services.
“We look forward to finalising our plans and recruiting an energetic team who will give great service to our guests when we open.”
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Scarborough founder and chairman, Kevin McCabe, said: “We are in a changing era, with the recovery from the financial crisis and an uncertain political environment, making it more challenging than we would have wished.
“Retailing has changed somewhat but there is still a healthy appetite from national retailers for units but they are more discerning about the location and want to be somewhere that is easily accessible.”
Thorpe Park Leeds is already a well-established 800,000 sq ft business park with over 60 occupiers including IBM, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Atkins, BAM and National Grid.
Last year, Scarborough built a new speculative office building on the first phase, called Paradigm. The 31,650 sq ft ‘headquarters’ office building sits prominently at the gateway to Thorpe Park Leeds overlooking the M1 at Junction 46.
Mr McCabe said it had agreed a deal with a company for the building but it fell through about three months ago. Two of the floors are under offer and Mr McCabe said he hoped to complete the deals in the next quarter.
Phase two includes an additional 940,000 sq ft of office accommodation alongside the 300,000 sq ft shopping and leisure park, as well as parkland and sports facilities.
Mr McCabe said the developer was in discussions with a company to pre-let a 30,000 sq ft office building on the second phase, which he hoped to secure by the end of the summer.
Redrow has also purchased a part of the site and announced plans to build 300 new homes.
Phase two at Thorpe Park Leeds also includes delivery of the first section of the East Leeds Orbital Road, a key piece of infrastructure connecting north and east Leeds to Junction 46 of the M1.
This road will unlock land for the construction of up to 7,000 new homes in the East Leeds area, land that is either already allocated in the Local Plan or which is brownfield.