It is one of the most well-known buildings in Leeds and has had quite an eventful past but 2019 is set to see a new lease of life for The Majestic.
In recent times, probably better known for its time as the Majestyk nightclub, the Grade II-listed building was once placed on the buildings at risk register and then ravaged by a huge fire.
But owners Rushbond Group, with contractors Sir Robert McAlpine, are on course to this year finish a painstaking multi-million pound transformation of the former cinema which is being turned into state-of-the-art workspaces.
Real Estate director, Mark Finch said: “It is a spectacular project, befitting of Leeds’ growing statute as a dynamic and ambitious city.”
From the basement to the top, the appearance of the building is effectively being turned inside out. Originally constructed with no real external light source, back in 1922, key features of this iconic building are to be put on show.
There will be seven levels of offices, a three storey atrium reception and roof terraces across over 70,000 square feet.
In the 1950s it was used as a ballroom while continuing to show films and in 1969 it opened as a bingo club. It was listed in 1993 and a couple of years later opened as the Majestyk nightclub.
Rushbond acquired the building in 2010 after it was added to the Leeds Civic Trust’s ‘At Risk’ register and planned to create a live music venue and were in talks with prospective tenants when the blaze broke out on the last day of September in 2014.
Mr Finch recalls: “With our design team, we had to think how we re-purpose this building so it has a sustainable and long term use.
“It is in the heart of the city, in the office quarter, immediately opposite the railway station which is the busiest in the north of England, so in many respects offices are the ideal use. The unique opportunity is how to transform the building into providing the type of workspace that modern business, and the city, now demands. We hope people will not only be interested in the location but fascinated by the building and the dramatic design that has evolved”.
While the Majestic makes progress, work has evolved on one of Rushbond’s other major acquisitions - The Corn Exchange, bought for an undisclosed sum in 2017.
It is just one of three in the country which continues be used for trading and visitors are now starting to see the effects of the gradual changes – with more planned to come.
At the end of last year the building was made fully accessible, after the stone steps were re-modelled, building repairs were carried out, interior shopfronts have been repainted and work is on-going to revamp the washrooms as part of a comprehensive remodelling of the lower ground floor. There are new light installations, including that of the grand dome which can be seen all the way down Boar Lane, with public art integrated into the building.
Mr Finch said: “The challenge is to support businesses, and offer opportunity for new ones. It’s not a case of dramatically changing things for changes sake, but to improve the Corn Exchange’s role and status in an evolutionary way, and supporting its position as one of Leeds’ jewels in the crown.”