Leeds' 'Biggest' Commercial Property Development

Leeds’ ‘Biggest’ Commercial Property Development Set for Completion in Q1 2019

Although much of the discourse regarding development in Leeds is focussed on the need for a wider range of housing stock within the city, there’s no denying the value of commercial property.

Leeds thrives with its industry and as the city centre moves steadily towards residential dominance, new sites need to be found for growing businesses to expand in to.

One such site is the 48,000 sq. ft. extension to Ash Way at Thorp Arch Estate, located near Wetherby and the Leeds United training and academy base.

The project is set to become the biggest multi-occupancy industrial development in Leeds and has been confirmed as both on-time and in-budget, with occupancy lined up for February 2019.

The site, formally a wartime munitions factory, is owned by London’s Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust, which has redeveloped the site into a modern business location close to the motorway in a £3m bid to entice major companies to the area.

The extension is known as Ash Way III and comprises of five light industrial units, the first of which has been rented by a significant name: Mark Rowntree’s Bon Bon’s. Mark is the great-grandson of confectionery entrepreneur and social reformer, Joseph Rowntree, and he’s taking a 15,000 sq. ft. unit.

Wharfedale Property Management’s director, Tim Munns, commented: “In spite of uncertainty over Brexit, we face a very strong demand for units. Thorp Arch Estate has more tenants today than at any time in its 60-year-history.

“In this case, the pre-let to Bon Bon’s created the opportunity to develop this wider speculative scheme as part of a continuing programme of new build and refurbishment to support the region’s business community.

“Our previous extension to Ash Way, which completed in Aug 2016, was close to 100 per cent let when building work completed and we are hopeful of repeating this with our latest scheme.” 

The remaining units comprise two 6,000 sq. ft. units, one 9,000 sq. ft. unit and one 12,000 sq. ft. unit, all available to lease through the estate manager, Wharfedale Property Management.

The estate has witnessed a spate of redevelopment in recent years, including the construction of a 62,925sq. ft. purpose-built distribution warehouse in 2016 for national drinks distributor, Matthew Clark Wholesale Ltd.

This latest development means that Thorp Arch Estate now measures over two million sq. ft., serving over 170 businesses from start-ups to PLCs. Perhaps best known publicly for Thorp Arch Retail Park, the first out-of-town retail park in England when it opened in 1959, today its most common purpose is supporting business in Leeds.