Leeds has turned into a premier shopping destination thanks to the opening of Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate and record footfall at the Merrion Centre, according to one of the North’s biggest property developers.
Town Centre Securities recorded bumper numbers of shoppers at its Merrion Centre shopping mall in 2016 as it benefited from the inflow of shoppers coming into Leeds to visit Trinity Leeds and the newly opened Victoria Gate upmarket mall, its chairman and chief executive Edward Ziff said.
The Leeds-based firm said Merrion attracted 11.5 million visitors last year, up 3.4 per cent on 2015, and the new Arena Quarter is now fully let.
Mr Ziff added that Merrion has also seen a boost thanks to Morrisons’ recovery under a new management team.
“Morrisons has got loads better as a retailer. They are seeing a higher footfall post refurbishment and they have opened a cafe which is always busy,” he said.
While Victoria Gate is attracting a more affluent shopper thanks to its key tenant John Lewis, Mr Ziff said Merrion is attracting people with smaller wallets.
“We are budget and we’re proud of it,” he said.
The firm said that the construction of Merrion House is on track for completion this December and Merrion Hotel and chef Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian restaurant are due to open in April.
Mr Ziff said the Merrion Centre should see a big boost once Merrion House is finished.
Elsewhere, Town Centre said the Premier Inn at Whitehall Road in Leeds was completed on time and on budget.
Town Centre’s underlying pre-tax profits rose 20 per cent to £4.2m in the six months to December 31.
The group took a £2.9m hit to the valuation of its investments compared with a £7.6m gain the previous year, which left pre-tax profits at £2.6m, down from £11.7m the previous year.
Mr Ziff said: “Our portfolio remains resilient and we expect this to continue, despite the investment market being very slow due to investor caution following the Brexit vote in June 2016.”
A popular escape game is opening a new experience in Trinity Leeds in April.
Tick Tock Unlock says the new concept - which is being kept under wraps for now - will be the first of its kind in the UK.
Director and founder Samrien Hussain said: “Leeds has never seen anything like this before and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
The new venue will be Tick Tock Unlock’s third site in Leeds – and sixth in total.