October 16, 2013
Leeds City Council has signed a new 25 year lease on its headquarters building Merrion House as part of a programme aimed at consolidating its property portfolio and housing the majority of its staff under one roof. The council claims the long term deal will save it £15 million over the course of the lease following work on a complete office refurbishment and a consolidation of its estate in the city centre. The refurb includes the addition of a new 50,000 sq ft six-storey extension bringing the total space to around 170,000 sq ft. The revamped HQ will be home to around 1,900 staff including 700 who will move from 13 other buildings around the city. The new agreements is thought to be the largest office pre-let in Leeds for more than 20 years.
The changes to the council’s estate mean it will ultimately retain four city centre offices. Six others have already been divested and there are plans to remove the remaining seven as soon as practical as the office refurbishment progresses.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I am particularly pleased that the newly-integrated one stop centre will enable us to offer better, easier access to a whole range of services to the public, all in a modern, state-of-the-art new building. At the same time, we will be saving a substantial amount of money – over £15m – which can be reinvested into those same services for the benefit of local people. The improvements will also help with the drive to regenerate a key area of the city centre, complementing the first direct arena and the Merrion Centre, and will help Leeds to continue to grow both economically and culturally, as well as assisting to meet our ambition of becoming the best city in the UK.”