urban development construction

The Deloitte 2023 Crane Survey reveals that Leeds City Centre experienced a strong year for development, with 16 new constructions beginning in 2023. The survey highlights significant growth in office space, stable residential development, record growth in student housing, and a revival of retail investment, demonstrating Leeds’ vibrancy and investment attractiveness.

What are the key highlights from the Deloitte 2023 Crane Survey on Leeds City Centre development?

  • Leeds saw 16 new constructions begin in 2023, reflecting strong development momentum.
  • Office space grew significantly, with a sixfold increase in new floorspace.
  • Residential development remained stable, with 15 new schemes.
  • Student housing soared, with 3,704 new beds under construction.
  • Leeds is emerging as an innovation hub, with advancements in education and research facilities.
  • Retail investment revived, marked by significant new developments on Briggate.

Overview of Leeds City Centre Development in 2023

The core metrics for city development often lie in the physical manifestations of construction and growth. For Leeds City Centre, the Deloitte 2023 Crane Survey provides a crucial barometer for such progress. Despite the unpredictable economic climate, the city has witnessed a remarkable year with 16 new constructions breaking ground, a testament to the enduring vibrancy and investment attractiveness of Leeds.

With an apparent decline from the previous year’s high, the numbers still represent a robust construction landscape. Deloitte’s analysis underlines a “rebalancing of construction activity,” which could very well set the stage for sustainable and strategic urban growth. These developments, ranging from office spaces to student housing and retail projects, not only reflect confidence in the city’s economic resilience but also its commitment to diverse and dynamic urban planning.

The city’s regeneration is ongoing, with significant projects underway that promise to reshape Leeds’ skyline. Developments across residential sectors, including both private and student accommodations, coupled with four substantial public schemes, paint a picture of a city on the move.

Enhancing Leeds’ Urban Connectivity

Leeds’ evolution as a connected and accessible city is central to its strategic development goals. The year saw the completion of three major public realm projects, with four more in progress. These include notable enhancements at Leeds Railway Station and the Armley Gyratory, overseen by Connecting Leeds’ sustainable travel initiative.

The transformation of City Square stands out as a remarkable achievement. It’s more than just an aesthetic upgrade; it’s a strategic move towards meeting net-zero targets by decreasing traffic and promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation. The implications of such projects extend beyond mere convenience, playing a pivotal role in the city’s efforts to foster sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint.

The work done in 2023 not only demonstrates Leeds’ commitment to enhancing its infrastructure but also highlights the city’s dedication to creating an environment conducive to living, working, and leisure that aligns with contemporary needs and future aspirations.

Surge in Office Space Development

The commercial landscape of Leeds has seen a dramatic shift, particularly in the realm of office development. A staggering 698,996 square feet of new office floorspace was realized in 2023, marking a sixfold increase from the previous year. The South Bank area alone welcomed 385,702 square feet of this expansion.

However, this surge is juxtaposed with a notable decline in new office space starts, with only one new scheme commencing in 2023. This presents a curious scenario where the demand for office space may soon surpass the supply, hinting at the potential for future developments to address this growing need.

Residential Sector: A Steady Performance

In the realm of housing, Leeds continues to showcase strength and stability. There were 15 residential schemes under construction in 2023, maintaining the momentum seen in the previous year. Almost all of these are new starts, signaling a healthy appetite for residential development in the city.

The residential landscape in Leeds is not just growing; it’s evolving. A shift towards creating inclusive and vibrant neighborhoods is evident. South Leeds, particularly the South Bank, has seen substantial growth, with a significant number of new home completions. This includes a mix of family housing and longer-term rentals, reflecting a nuanced approach to meeting the diverse housing needs of the city’s population.

Record Growth in Student Housing

The student accommodation sector in Leeds has witnessed unprecedented growth for the second consecutive year. With an increase of 12% from the previous year, there are now 3,704 beds under construction across 10 different schemes. This development spree aligns with the burgeoning student population in Leeds and includes notable projects like Arena Point and Store House on Briggate.

These schemes not only accommodate the growing demand for student living spaces but also contribute to the city’s educational infrastructure. The trajectory of this sector is indicative of Leeds’ reputation as an educational hub and reflects investor confidence in the city’s academic future.

Leeds as an Innovation Hub

Leeds’ ascent as a center for innovation is evident in its growing STEM student population, second only to London within the UK. The opening of the Leeds Mathematics School in September 2023 and the groundbreaking of Leeds City College’s Margate Campus underscore the city’s commitment to education, particularly in sectors driving future industries.

The delivery of nearly 200,000 square feet of medical and research floorspace further solidifies Leeds’ position as a nexus of innovation. These developments are crucial, not only providing state-of-the-art facilities for research and development but also attracting talent and investment in the city’s burgeoning knowledge economy.

Revival of Retail Investment

The year 2023 marked a notable shift in retail investment, the most significant since the launch of Victoria Gate in 2016. Construction on two significant retail schemes commenced on Briggate, addressing the market’s latent demand for quality retail space. The Store House development, notably taking over the former House of Fraser site, along with Flannels moving into the former Debenhams building, signal a rejuvenation of Leeds’ retail environment.

Plans for the redevelopment of The Core, submitted in 2023, capitalize on the recent public realm investments along The Headrow. Such initiatives are not just about expanding retail space; they reflect a strategic approach to urban revitalization that emphasizes the synergy between public investment and private enterprise.

Building Foundations for Future Success

The year 2023 was a cornerstone for Leeds, placing essential building blocks for future prosperity. Transformative projects like City Square, coupled with LeedsBID’s efforts to enhance the city center, contribute to a holistic vision for urban development. Public investment in cultural initiatives, as evidenced by Leeds2023, and the decision to keep UKREiiF in Leeds reinforce the city’s status as a destination for significant events and investments.

Each development and initiative in 2023 has contributed to the robust tapestry of Leeds’ urban landscape. While the projects are diverse, ranging from education to retail and public infrastructure, they share a common goal: to pave the way for Leeds’ long-term success, ensuring that the city remains at the forefront of innovation, growth, and sustainability.

  • Leeds City Centre experienced a strong year for development in 2023, with 16 new constructions beginning.
  • Office space grew significantly, with a sixfold increase in new floorspace.
  • Residential development remained stable, with 15 new schemes.
  • Student housing saw record growth, with 3,704 new beds under construction.
  • Retail investment revived, with significant new developments on Briggate.

By george