As well as being a regional economic centre, Leeds is also playing a huge role in the impressive performance of the Northern Powerhouse area. Since the vote to leave the European Union and the political instability which followed in the UK over the last year, the Northern Powerhouse has somewhat slipped under the radar on the national agenda - but rest assured: Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool as well as Sheffield and Newcastle have been making impressive strides towards the objectives set by George Osborne in 2014.
Improving transport links, collaboration in business, innovation and job creation as well as large scale investment in infrastructure and jobs have all been coming to fruition across the region, and nowhere more so than in Leeds.
A recent speech by John Kampfner, head the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), earmarked Leeds as an area which will have an abundance of cultural wealth in the coming years and described it as the city’s real currency in a post-Brexit Britain.
Kampfner was quoted in the Yorkshire Post, who described CIF as a nationwide partnership of 1,000 organisations which works to secure policy backing, investment and infrastructure for creative organisations. Its members include key players in Leeds’ arts and academic scene. He has said that he will also meet senior civic figures to discuss the city’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023. Kampfner is said to be strongly supporting the idea of a UK entry in the race for the 2023 title and though he said he “couldn’t and shouldn’t” pick a favoured city, he said that Leeds had “hit the ground running” with a “very confident, very vocal and visual” bid.
With the possibility of a strong and successful bid for Capital of Culture in 2023, Leeds would once again become a focus of European and worldwide attention. However, culture and arts aren’t the only reason that Leeds has been prospering.
A £173 million investment fund has recently been announced to assist in improving the transport links and infrastructure around Leeds and its surrounding areas. The announcement included plans for ‘cutting-edge’ public transport around the city which includes new integrated bus corridors, including segregated lanes and real time information for passengers making journeys in and around the city centre. Covering a four-year period, funding will also allow Leeds to develop proposals for local rail improvements, subject to wider rail industry consultation. In addition, First Group have agreed in principle to commit £71 million to providing 284 new low emission buses by 2020 for use in Leeds.
Further to this Leeds Beckett University is planning to further add to the city’s world renowned reputation for higher education with a £75 million investment into a new school of arts. The project, according to Clare Burnett, will include a 156,076 sqft building which will host dedicated studios for fashion, performing arts and music performance, a theatre, a black box studio, a 220 seat Dolby Atmos cinema, a TV studio, three large film studios as well as a green screen studio and a stop motion studio with dubbing and music recording studios.
The site, located in the Civic Centre of Leeds, will be home to 1,850 students and staff, who are currently scattered across the city. It is the final phase of the Peter Downing Developments masterplan, adding to the 500,000 sqft of student accommodation within the central campus development.
The Leeds property market isn’t doing too badly either, with construction of new properties and off-plan properties currently booming. Domestic and foreign investment has been pouring into the city for residential, off-plan and student accommodation over the past few years as Leeds grows impressively and strongly.
According to a report in the Telegraph, Leeds will soon be comparable to cities such as Bristol, Manchester, and Edinburgh which are attracting graduates and people relocating to new jobs. These cities are predicted to see the most dramatic price rises in property value by 2020 and Leeds is set to join them.
Quoted in the report as the second hottest property area to invest in before Manchester by 2020, it said that Leeds, Yorkshire & Humberside and especially the affluent areas of the region where people are not as constrained by affordability were the source of greatest interest because prices are nowhere near the £1m, £2m, or £3m mark that they are in London, meaning growth has not been hit by the increases to Stamp Duty Land Tax to anywhere near the same degree.
Leeds has an extremely bright future ahead of it and it is a city more than worth your time if you are looking to expand your investment portfolio. The latest Knight Knox development in Leeds is very close to completion – have a look at the latest drone footage of X1 Aire here!