Caddick cashes in on Channel 4 boost with new Leeds media hub

Caddick Group has completed a 110,000 sq ft media hub in Leeds city centre which will be occupied by Opera North and studio operator Leeds Studios.

By Ros Snowdon
Thursday, 12th December 2019, 1:49 pm

Caddick said the site - a former six acre printworks in central Leeds - is 15 minutes from the Majestic, where Channel 4 will be opening its new headquarters.

The refurbishment of the historic site will more than double the amount of usable studio space in the city as it gears up for the arrival of Channel 4, which has galvanised the city.

Johnny Caddick, director at Caddick Group, said: “There is huge demand for studio space across the UK and in Leeds particularly thanks to the arrival of Channel 4.

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Director Johnny Caddick said there is huge demand for studio space in Leeds thanks to the arrival of Channel 4.

"The broadcaster’s move will prove a massive boost to the city’s economy and Caddick Group is proud to be part of that growth story by transforming a derelict site into a world-class film and TV complex.”

Wetherby-based Caddick has secured Opera North as a tenant for a 9,000 sq ft unit in the six acre site which it will use for rehearsals and storage.

The remaining space will be occupied by Leeds Studios, which is subletting the property from Leeds City Council after a landmark deal with Caddick that saw the local authority take the head lease.

Leeds Studios will now undertake internal fit outs of the six units it will occupy, with the facility due to open in May 2020.

Acquired by Caddick in October 2017, the site will house 110,000 sq ft of studio space after an extensive refurbishment, including the demolition of the Petty House office building and removal of abandoned plant machinery and asbestos.

New landscaping and access points have been provided, along with charging points for electric vehicles. Local contractor CBM Construction carried out the refurbishment.

The history of the former printworks spans almost 150 years, starting in 1865 when Petty & Sons family printing company first opened its doors.

In 1981 it was acquired by Robert Maxwell, who used it for his British Printing and Communications Corporation.

The site subsequently changed hands a number of times before finally shutting for good in December 2014 with the loss of 250 jobs.

A fire which broke out in October 2016 destroyed the old Bindery building and the site was then abandoned.

Tony Bashforth from CBM Construction said: “The refurbishment of the former Polestar Petty works has received a lot of interest locally, due to the connections many in Leeds have to the site.

"Our works have helped transform the old warehouses into a modern workspace for the 21st century, including new electric car charging points and upgraded services to power the studios. It’s great to have been involved in this project bringing the space back into employment use.”

Caddick has a £5bn development pipeline spanning residential, industrial/logistics and mixed-use city centre regeneration projects.