Currently the only major retail project of its kind currently under construction in the UK – the new £350 million Trinity Leeds retail development, scheduled to open at the end of next month, is also the largest new retail project in Western Europe.
Despite many thinking this is a bad time to attempt such a tremendous project, the scheme has already been 90% let, with other retailers currently jostling for the remaining few spaces. As the UK is poised to emerge from the economic downturn within the next few years, surely it makes sense to invest and focus on new developments during the early stages of economic growth.
Development Director Andrew Dudley concurs:
“People said we were mad to embark on this but the proof is in the pudding. Before it was built, our research found that Leeds was the place that most retailers wanted to be. And that’s bar none. Leeds and the scheme will be pushing retail forward and reviving it. It will give the city the chance to fight back against the economic downturn.”
Projected figures suggest that the scheme will attract 23 million visitors in its first year and – unlike other shopping malls and out of town developments – it is situated right at the heart of the high street – being spread across three of the busiest shopping streets in Leeds including Briggate, Commercial Street and Albion Street.
“I can’t think of a scheme of this scale that is built so central to a city…” claims Dudley, who has also directed a major development for the British Museum and a similar retail scheme in Cardiff:
“I have done a couple of these types of projects now but I am most excited about this. The quality of food hasn’t been seen in a shopping centre before, plus the impressive digital aspect offers a completely new approach.
“It has been an enormous privilege to deliver something like this and when I see the reaction of people who walk in here it really touches me, you know you’ve created something special.”
A workforce of 1,000 are on site at present, applying the finishing touches to the retail units and interiors before the grand opening ceremony on the 21st March – just in time for the Spring retail season.
Dudley explains why they don’t have any celebrities lined up for the opening ceremony: “We don’t have a celebrity name….we want to get important Leeds representatives and keep the focus on the quality of the environment and the quality retailers.”
The new shopping centre will contain 120 restaurants and retail stores, including rooftop restaurants and bars and flagship shops for well-known high-end brands including Hollister and Superdry, plus high street favourites such as H&M, Mango, Next and River Island.