Leeds based property and development company Rushbond PLC has marked its involvement in the Alf Cooke Printworks on Hunslet Road, with a tour of the newly opened Leeds City College campus for a group of the building’s past employees.
Rushbond purchased the site following the closure of carton manufacturing company MY Cartons in 2004 and worked with Leeds City College on the £25 million refurbishment of the Grade II-listed building that is one of Leeds’s most iconic Victorian buildings.
Rushbond’s real estate director Mark Finch said:
“Having purchased and developed the vision for the re-use of this important site and achieved planning permission, we then carried out the enabling works which included demolition, extension and refurbishment activities. A development contribution was also set aside to contribute towards the development of a new city park.”
The new campus opened in September 2013 and further phases will be developed over the next two years taking the site to 14,500 square metres on completion.
Phil Crabtree, chief planning officer at Leeds City Council, said:
“Rushbond worked in conjunction with the Council on the proposals to create a state-of-the-art campus that has maintained many of the factory’s original features alongside new 21st century architecture and the project is a shining example or how the public and private sectors can work together to regenerate areas like the South Bank.”
Kevin Grady from Leeds Civic Trust said:
“Rushbond has established a reputation as a sympathetic developer that can see the potential of some of the City’s oldest and most important buildings.
“The firm has helped to spearhead the development of the South Bank and it’s a real delight to see this building, which was once described as the largest, cleanest, healthiest and most completely fitted printing works in the world, brought back to life after so many years standing empty.”
“The South Bank is an entirely unique piece of townscape that is now benefiting from better links and extensive development.
“With Rushbond having been active in this area of Leeds for over a decade, it’s a privilege to see such a ground-breaking scheme like this come to fruition.
“The development of the Printworks has played a vital role in the revival of the South Bank giving the building a totally new lease of life and we were delighted to mark the successful partnership with a tour of the new site for former workers of the Printworks who were keen to see how the building had been transformed.”
The Alf Cooke Printworks building was built in 1895. The business had previously started life as a one-man printing operation in 1866.
It grew to become a pillar of Leeds’s industrial base as the city developed as a centre for the printing industry.
The South Bank includes the former Tetley Brewery, New Lane, Bridge End and Asda House and provides a link between the traditional City Centre core and the Riverside to the north, Holbeck Urban Village to the west, the Aire Valley to the east, and the residential communities of Beeston Hill and Holbeck to the south.
The area will also benefit from Leeds College of Building’s £15 million investment to create a new 8,000 square metres facility on land at Hunslet Lane and Black Bull Street.