Leeds’ iconic structures have been well looked after in recent years, with City House’s transformation already complete, plans to revamp Leeds Kirkgate Market underway and yet more across the city, but the last decade has seen one building with an immense potential lag behind.
We’re talking, of course, about the Majestic building. Located just outside Leeds train station and with spectacular views over the beautiful, bustling City Square, it’s a prime location, albeit one with a recent history of bad luck.
Originally opened in 1922 as a cinema, restaurant and ballroom, the building attracted tens of thousands who flocked to see films in the building, which featured a remarkable art-deco fan-shaped auditorium and Parthenon-style frieze. However, by the 1980s the building had become a full-time bingo hall and, following a £5m makeover in the 1990s, became a nightclub known as the Majestyk.
By 2006 the club had closed and, in 2010, the building was sold to Rushbond, before suffering a serious blaze in 2014, seriously damaging the building.
In the intervening four years, work has been completed to return it to a functional state, but no action was taken.
Now, work has begun on a £40m scheme to transform the Majestic building into high-class offices with superb access to the train station – ideal for commuters, and sure to be a hit with the HS3 crowd in years to come.
Rushbond has appointed the Sir Robert McAlpine engineering company to handle the transformation of the landmark, which is expected to take around 18 months to complete. The new-look Majestic will boast 66,000 sq. ft of premium contemporary workspace.
In total, seven floors will sit behind the historic buildings façade, with a new three-story atrium entrance also being created, whilst terraces on the fourth and fifth floors will give workers supreme views out over City Square.
Rushbond real estate director Mark Finch said: “When complete in 2019, The Majestic will provide a stage for modern, forward-thinking, imaginative and ambitious businesses who are seeking a distinctive landmark presence at the heart of the Leeds city region.”
The news has been greeted jubilation by Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, who said: “I’m delighted to see that plans for this iconic and much-loved building are moving forward.
“The transformation of the site will provide a great opportunity for businesses to occupy a prime location in Leeds and contribute to our growing economy.”
Mark Gibson, McAlpine’s managing director for the Scotland & Northern region, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project that will see this iconic building playing a new role in the city of Leeds and its burgeoning economy.
“Now that we have started work, we are looking forward to turning Rushbond’s exciting vision into a reality, to seeing The Majestic standing tall and proud as a true Leeds landmark.”
Richard Thornton, JLL’s director of office agency and leasing agent for the building, said: “The Majestic provides a rare opportunity for occupiers to acquire space in what is undoubtedly a super-prime location.
“It will provide exceptional office accommodation for a whole range of occupiers looking for space from 6,100 sq ft to the whole building at 66,000 sq ft.
“With practical completion scheduled in June 2019, the timing could not be better as we project that the current supply of brand new Grade A city office space will all be let over the next 12 to 18 months.”
It’s hoped that the new Majestic building will have scope for multiple occupations, although they remain open to the possibility of single tenant occupation.