Plans for extra storey at £150m shopping arcade

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Leeds’ multi-million pound Victoria Gate development looks set to get bigger after new plans were submitted for an extra level to be installed.

Bosses behind the £150m scheme want to add an additional storey to the southern block to accommodate two restaurants. If approved by Leeds City Council planning chiefs, the additional level will add over 1,000 square metres to the scheme’s existing 34,300 sq metre expanse.

This is not the first time proposals for a third storey have been pitched, as similar proposals submitted in February were rejected. However a revised plan will be presented to a Leeds council plan panel tomorrow.

Property developer Hammerson’s scheme will consist of a flagship John Lewis store, a two-street arcade with more than 30 retailers and restaurants and an 800-space multi-storey car park.

The shopping centre, adjacent to Victoria Quarter, is already more than 40 per cent let ahead of its opening next autumn as stores rush to grab a space next to one of the biggest John Lewis stores outside London. The scheme is being billed as the latest piece in the jigsaw of the complete regeneration of Leeds city centre.

Construction work for the first phase started last April following the purchase of Victoria Quarter in 2012.

Following the success of the £350m Trinity Leeds shopping centre, the scheme is expected ​to create up to 1,000 construction and 1,000 retail and hospitality jobs. The new ​anchor ​John Lewis will be ​one of ​the partnership’s largest stores outside of London at 255,000 to 260,000 sq ft.

​Hammerson said Victoria Gate will be very different to Trinity Leeds, which appeals to a young fashion and mass market audience. In contrast, Hammerson’s scheme will be pitched at a higher demographic and is aiming for a similar experience to South Molton Street in London, the upmarket pedestrianised street south of Bond Street in London’s West End.

The developers said that John Lewis will bring in shoppers who don’t currently shop in Leeds in what is widely known in retail terms as “the John Lewis effect”.

The scheme’s designs emulate the architecture of Leeds’ historic buildings and the shop fronts will be consistent with the Victoria Quarter.