Q&A WITH HELEN GREEN
LEEDS CITY MAGAZINE CATCHES UP WITH HELEN GREEN FROM MERRION CENTRE
Can you tell us about your professional background?
I went from a Cleethorpes Comprehensive school to studying Estate Management at Oxford (albeit at Oxford Polytechnic as it was then). I started my career at Cushman Wakefield in London before spending over 10 years working on the Grosvenor shopping fund. Here I asset managed the property assets outside of the core London estate for the Duke of Westminster.
I moved to Yorkshire in 2005 to join leading Leeds based property investor and car park operator, Town Centre Securities PLC whose portfolio includes a number of assets across the UK and Leeds including The Merrion Centre. In 2015, I also became a non-executive Director for Leeds Bid.
What does being in your position entail?
As an Associate Director at TCS, my role is to oversee the phased development, regeneration and growth of TCS’s single largest asset, the Merrion Centre in Leeds. With over 1m square feet of office, retail and leisure space, and welcoming over 11.5m internal visitors per year, there is plenty to keep me out of mischief!
The role is continually exciting as we strive to make Leeds’ oldest shopping centre relevant and contemporary. I have delivered one ten year plan and have just started my second (yes this does make me feel very old!!)
Would you be able to describe the favourite things about your job?
I love to see results. It is exciting to play a pivotal part in the Merrion Centre’s evolution.
The Merrion Centre is a unique Centre in the heart of Leeds as it is the only Centre to have had the same owners who originally developed it then continued managing, refurbishing and redeveloping it during its 50 + years history.
We continue to welcome a record number of visitors that are attracted by the increasing variety of brands and offerings. This gives me and the whole team a sense of satisfaction in knowing we are making a difference to the city and our customers, driving Leeds’ own northern powerhouse.
What’s coming up in the future for our readers to look forward to? (Merrion or Town centre)
Blimey! Give me a chance! We have just delivered one 10 year plan which saw £70m been spent on refurbishing and redeveloping the centre (including increasing the total retail and leisure space, the addition of the ibis Styles hotel, Marcos New York Italian, refurbishment of the on-site CitiPark car park and completion of Merrion House).
That said, we are looking forward to announcing some new food, drink and retail brands to the city as well as taking the Merrion Centre even further forward to keep us at the heart of the city. The second ten year plan I mentioned will focus on three key factors/themes which are ‘Mind The Gap’, ‘Back To Front’, and ‘Grow Your Own’. Watch this space for more detail to come…
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps in the world of business?
• Know what you want to do
• Keep asking questions
and asking people to help you, I’ve always found that Yorkshire people are happy to help
• Do your best everyday
• Care about what you do and enjoy it
Coming from someone that knows the city very well , what do you love the most about Leeds?
Apart from the Merrion Centre?! Nowhere holds a candle to it!
You can sense the passion when people talk about their city, there is a great camaraderie within Leeds which I feel is why the Centre continues to thrive and grow after over 50 years. As I’ve said before the Merrion Centre has soul something that can’t be built overnight.