Leeds city centre shopping arcade gets a new look

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PEOPLE in Leeds are today given their first glimpse of the stylish new look planned for a city centre shopping arcade.

The Market Street Arcade at the bottom of Briggate was showing distinct signs of wear and tear when it closed for a £3m refurbishment in 2009.

Now, though, computer-generated images have been released which show how shoppers will be able to enjoy a truly 21st century retail experience when the site reopens this summer.

The arcade’s basement, ground and first floors have been completely revamped while footbridges, lifts and a fully-glazed roof are being installed.

It is also getting a new name - the Central Arcade - to accompany its smart post-makeover appearance.

Letting of the site’s 20 or so retail units is already under way.

It is hoped the majority will be snapped up by trendy fashion boutiques and other independent retailers.

There are also plans to incorporate two restaurants or bars into the finished complex.

Design work on the scheme was carried out for owner Oaklyn Investments by the Leeds office of architects Ingenium Archial.

The architecture firm has said that, pre-refurbishment, the arcade had turned into an “anonymous, dark and oppressive thoroughfare”.

Its stated aim was to transform the site into an “inviting and light retail mall with a distinct identity” that linked Briggate with Central Road and, from there, Leeds’s Kirkgate Market.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the last unit standing when the Market Street Arcade shut two years ago was the 4 Cousins Grill and Coffee Lounge.

Founded in 1961, at its peak the family-run cafe served around 1,000 customers on a Saturday alone but trade had dropped off dramatically by the time its doors closed for the final time.

The arcade’s other units, meanwhile, were empty and much of the site had fallen into disrepair.

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