City chiefs launch search for developers to transform old Leeds International Pool site

COUNCIL chiefs are today launching a new search for developers to turn the site of the former Leeds International Swimming Pool into offices, hotels and apartments.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th March 2017, 3:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:07 am

Leeds City Council said the site on Lisbon Street has the potential to accommodate five buildings of around 20-storeys high, making them some of the tallest in the city.

It is looking for developers and investors to register their interest for the land, which was previously earmarked for a 24 residential tower called ‘The Spiracle’ but fell victim to the credit crunch.

The three-acre site could offer in excess of half a million sq ft of business-led space, brought together through public realm investment.

The plans will be launched today at international property global investment and property forum, which is taking place in Cannes, France.

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds is a rapidly growing vibrant city with a powerful and resilient economy at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and one which has worked hard to deliver a 40 per cent growth rate over the past decade.

“To support the growth of our business and visitor economies we need high-quality office space and hotel and leisure facilities, and as part of our ongoing strategic asset management strategy, we are determined to bring the absolute best investors, operators and brands to the city.”

She added: “The Lisbon Street site sits in a prime position amongst many of the city’s top legal, financial and professional services employers, which makes it a hugely desirable development space. It would be ideal for grade A office space and high-end hotel operators looking to cater for this growing professional market and the ever increasing numbers of visitors to the city.”

The authority is hoping to attract investors interested in creating a mixed-use development to service the city’s growing business and visitor economy.

The council is keen to partner with the private sector to bring forward the scheme. The site could either be sold as a whole or in separate lots.

Almost 40 per cent of the footprint would be dedicated to outdoor public space creating a new destination for the West End of the city.

The announcement is the latest in the continuing development of Leeds city centre, which saw record levels of building completions in 2016, and the joint highest levels of new schemes starting since 2007.

Over 713,000 sq ft of office space completed with much pre-let, alongside nearly 600,000 sq ft of retail space, more than double Leeds’ annual average.

The Leeds economy is the third largest in the UK, at around £20.4bn, and is set to experience the fastest growth in private sector jobs according to the Cities Outlook 2015. It welcomes over 26 million visitors every year, worth £1.53bn to the local economy, and is bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023.

Designed by Pontefract architect John Poulson – later jailed for corruption – in the 1960s, Leeds International Pool was famously too narrow for eight-lane Olympic standards.

It closed in 2007 and was demolished two years later. The site has since been used as a car park.