Developer and asset manager MEPC has confirmed that the Government has chosen Wellington Place as the location of its new regional government hub in Yorkshire.
The move represents the biggest ever office pre-let on record in Leeds, with the deal overseen by leading property consultant, JLL.
The project will see the construction of buildings 7 and 8 from MEPC’s masterplan to create a state-of-the-art working environment. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the public bodies will be welcomed to the thriving business community at Wellington Place which is one of the largest and most prestigious new city centre business quarters in Europe.
The new 377,000 sq ft building will be fully let on a 25 year lease, signed by HM Revenue and Customs, and is expected to bring over 6,000 civil servants to the centre of Leeds.
This in addition to Wellington Place’s existing high profile business occupiers, including Sky Betting & Gaming, Willis Towers Watson, Squire Patton Boggs and Shulmans LLP, will grow the community to almost 10,000 employees – one of the largest in the region.
This project is part of the Government’s plans for building a strong Civil Service base across the UK. The Leeds hub will transform central Government’s estate by accommodating multi-departmental workforces in shared buildings including HM Revenue and Customs and NHS Digital.
This will deliver taxpayer savings, build Leeds’ strength as a national leader in digital skills, act as a catalyst for regional growth in Yorkshire and ensure the delivery of the best quality service to the public.
Developed by MEPC on behalf of the joint venture between Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the new building will create grade A office accommodation with a BREAAM excellent rating.
The buildings’ significant position on Whitehall Road will offer a prime city-centre location, easy access to the Leeds’ retail quarter and convenient transport links across the country via road and rail.
In addition to its excellent working environment, employees will enjoy additional Wellington Place community benefits, including a workplace choir, onsite allotments, free bike hire and regular wellbeing and community events. The development also includes a wide selection of amenities, including a state-of-the-art gym, cafes, bars and restaurants, and extensive public space.
Wates has been selected as the contractor following a successful long term relationship at Wellington Place on earlier phases on the development, with the Leeds office of Cushman and Wakefield representing MEPC.
James Dipple, chief executive of MEPC, said: “This is an exciting time for Wellington Place and we are thrilled to be chosen as the home for the new regional government hub.
“We look forward to welcoming our new occupiers to join our existing portfolio and, we believe, they will fit seamlessly into the well-established and active public realm at Wellington Place.
“Both Hermes Investment Management and CPPIB who are funding this project acknowledge the importance of working in partnership with the public sector and are looking to create sustainable places which not only deliver attractive financial returns to our investors, but also have a beneficial impact upon the environment and local communities.
“The Government’s decision to locate at Wellington Place, in the heart of Leeds, is great news for the city as it maintains its evolution as a key northern location for business. We are proud to be a part of its sustained development and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Jeff Pearey, director of JLL who advised the Cabinet Office, said: “This is the largest office pre-let in Leeds ever and a major economic boost for the city.
“The biggest up until now had been the 374,000 sq ft letting to the Government at Quarry House which heralded the arrival of various government departments, some from London, over 20 years ago.
“As well as constituting the largest first phase acquisition of all of the regional government hubs completed so far, this property deal bolsters and reinforces the long term potential of Leeds’ West End.”
Meanwhile, work continues across the site with Number 3 Wellington Place due to complete in December this year. Situated on the junction of Wellington Street and Northern Street, the building will create the principal north-east gateway into Wellington Place and form part of the 290,000 sq. ft. of recently constructed existing office and retail space at Wellington Place.