Leeds’ prestigious new £150m Victoria Gate retail development is set to house one of the largest John Lewis stores outside of London.

Leeds City Council has welcomed news that construction of the retail development will begin on 7th April, which will see the first John Lewis department store arriving in Leeds with a floor space of 24,000m².

The eagerly awaited shopping quarter, due to open in 2016, will be a 21st century-inspired retail arcade, which plays on the city’s arcade history, featuring up to 30 stores, restaurants, cafes, casino plus a 800 space multi-story car park.

The architecturally striking façade will draw on Leeds’ textile heritage with elegantly designed two street arcades linking Victoria Quarter to the new development.

Alongside regenerating the space, the first phase will also deliver up to 1,500 retail and hospitality jobs and 1,000 construction employment opportunities.

The council is working with Hammerson and construction contractor Sir Robert McAlpine to ensure employment, skills and training opportunities are available to the local workforce in Leeds. Careers fair will be organised in April for individuals wanting to find out more about jobs and training opportunities.

Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development councillor Richard Lewis said: “Victoria Gate is shaping up to be a yet another impressive shopping quarter in our city, which already offers an outstanding retail experience, and I am delighted to hear that work will be getting underway on site in the near future.

“The quality of this project will be a fine addition to the city centre and I believe it will attract even more big name retailers to the city. It will cement Leeds’ position as a force to be reckoned with in terms of retail and will create thousands of much-welcomed jobs and training opportunities.”

Leeds is currently in 6th place in the national retail rankings. It’s anticipated that the opening of Victoria Gate development will cement its position as a top five retail destination in England.

David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “A huge amount of hard work and commitment from the team, the council and John Lewis has enabled us to reach this point.

“As we begin the delivery phase our focus is now to ensure we attract the best retailers and to ensure that on opening in 2016, Victoria Gate becomes a thriving destination within Leeds.”

Jeremy Collins, property director at John Lewis, said: “This is very exciting news. We have long-held an ambition to open a full-line John Lewis department store in Leeds.

“Hammerson has put together a very compelling retail destination combining the new Victoria Gate with the existing Victoria Quarter Arcades. The support of the City Council has also been tremendous .

“We look forward to trading alongside other established retailers in the city enhancing Leeds as a premium retail destination.”
To find out more about Victoria Gate visit www.victoriagate.co.uk.