Work has started on a £40m scheme that will breathe vibrant new life into the Majestic building in Leeds city centre, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.
Leeds-based property firm Rushbond has appointed construction and civil engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine to handle the transformation of the City Square landmark into high-class offices.
McAlpine has already begun work on site, with the redevelopment of the fire-damaged former cinema and nightclub expected to take around 18 months.
Rushbond real estate director Mark Finch said: “When complete in 2019, The Majestic will provide a stage for modern, forward-thinking, imaginative and ambitious businesses who are seeking a distinctive landmark presence at the heart of the Leeds city region.”
The new-look Majestic will boast 66,000 sq ft of what is being described as “contemporary workspace”.
Its seven floors will sit behind the historic building’s original exterior while a three-storey atrium-style entrance is also being created.
Terraces on the building’s fourth and fifth floors will overlook City Square.
News of the start of work on site was welcomed today by Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake.
She said: “I’m delighted to see that plans for this iconic and much-loved building are moving forward.
“The transformation of the site will provide a great opportunity for businesses to occupy a prime location in Leeds and contribute to our growing economy.”
Rushbond says the redeveloped Majestic will have scope for multiple occupation or a single tenant to take on the whole building.
Mark Gibson, McAlpine’s managing director for the Scotland & Northern region, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project that will see this iconic building playing a new role in the city of Leeds and its burgeoning economy.
“Now that we have started work, we are looking forward to turning Rushbond’s exciting vision into a reality, to seeing The Majestic standing tall and proud as a true Leeds landmark.”
Richard Thornton, JLL’s director of office agency and leasing agent for the building, said: “The Majestic provides a rare opportunity for occupiers to acquire space in what is undoubtedly a super-prime location.
“It will provide exceptional office accommodation for a whole range of occupiers looking for space from 6,100 sq ft to the whole building at 66,000 sq ft.
“With practical completion scheduled in June 2019, timing could not be better as we project that the current supply of brand new Grade A city office space will all be let over the next 12 to 18 months.”
VARIED HISTORY OF FAMOUS SITE
The Majestic first opened its doors as a cinema and restaurant-cum-ballroom back in the summer of 1922.
Thousands flocked to see films at the building, which featured a fan-shaped auditorium and Parthenon-style frieze – but by the 1980s the site had found a new use, as a full-time bingo hall.
It then reopened in the 1990s as the Majestyk club following a £5m makeover, with revellers being promised nights out that had no “pretensions or attitudes”. Owner Luminar Leisure closed the club in 2006 and sold the site to Rushbond four years later.
A huge blaze caused serious damage to the building in 2014.