Scarborough Group International (SGI) has commenced works on site to deliver a significant exemplary office building at Thorpe Park Leeds. The 133,118 sq ft building, which is pre-let to leading credit management company, Lowell, sets a new benchmark in workplace design at the park and has a gross development value of £52 million.
Representatives from both SGI and Lowell met on site to mark the official ground-breaking with GMI Construction, principal contractor for the project, just a matter of weeks after funding was secured for the project through OakNorth Bank. GMI expects to complete the building by September 2022, ready for the tenant to commence their CAT-B fit-out works before they relocate in 2023.
The pre-let to Lowell was announced earlier this year and represents the largest single out of town office deal ever recorded in West Yorkshire and the biggest property transaction in the Northern Powerhouse region over the last twelve months. Lowell has agreed a 15-year lease to occupy the building and will relocate its UK headquarters from two sites at Leeds Valley Park.
The building, which will extend over seven floors with two levels of underground podium parking and amenity below, marks the evolution in the design of out of town office space and is being constructed in line with the very latest human health and wellbeing standards. Its location and adjacent landscaped courtyard will create an anchor point for the next development plots that will be largely pedestrianised, providing easy access to The Springs retail and leisure park and new green park.
Designed by award-winning architects, Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher, the building is to represent a new benchmark for future development at Thorpe Park Leeds, with an environmental performance target rating of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and principles set out in the WELL Standard to provide an exemplar environment for users.
Kevin McCabe, Chairman at SGI, said:
“We are pleased to be able to start on site so quickly after securing planning consent, funding and of course concluding the landmark letting with our new neighbours Lowell. The transaction is excellent news for the region and a huge vote of confidence in the existing & future environment at Thorpe Park as well an indicator that the office market remains strong, despite the pandemic.
“We continue to engage with businesses seeking to locate at Thorpe Park Leeds, some of which are existing occupiers looking to expand, and we remain committed to our ambition to deliver further phases of office development to ensure that Thorpe Park maintains and advances its position within the Northern Powerhouse as the flagship location for business, employment and quality of life.”
Lee Powell, Divisional Managing Director of GMI Construction Group, said:
“We are delighted to start on site with our next significant project at Thorpe Park Leeds as we maintain our long-term and trusted partnership with SGI to deliver phase two. The scale of delivery is considerable and as principal contractor we are excited to be working closely with the entire delivery team to build the biggest single office building in Leeds out of town history. It really is exciting to see how Thorpe Park Leeds has excelled in recent years to become a thriving business and leisure destination and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Lisa Wragg, Head of Office Services at Lowell said:
“This building is the culmination of many months of tireless work by all involved to get it to this stage. We’re really excited to see the construction of our new home finally starting to take shape and look forward to celebrating the next milestone in due course.”
In recognition of the hard work that has gone into getting the project to this stage, while simultaneously observing social distancing guidelines in place, SGI staged a virtual ground breaking ‘Pass the Poster’ challenge. The TikTok-style video, which can be viewed here, features a 30-strong team involved in the project, including contractors, engineers, architects, landscape architects, agents, planners, lenders and sustainable transport consultants alongside the SGI and Lowell teams sharing key messages about the HQ building and wider Thorpe Park Leeds development.
Thorpe Park Leeds is an already well-established business location, strategically located with its own dedicated access at Junction 46 of the M1. More than 900,000 sq ft of office space is already built supporting over 5,500 jobs and The Springs retail and leisure park sits at the core of the mixed-use business community with a line-up of major high street brands including Next, M&S, ODEON Luxe, Pure Gym, Boots, H&M and TK Maxx along with a growing range of smaller, independent, niche retail and leisure businesses.
Further development plans include the delivery of a 113-acre public park with sports and wellbeing facilities for the community of the Leeds City Region and beyond. The phase two development at Thorpe Park Leeds was enabled following a unique investment deal with Legal & General Capital in 2015. Since then a transformational 1.35 million sq ft mixed-use expansion has progressed bringing exceptional new business opportunities to the Leeds City Region. It has also enabled the delivery of the first section of the ‘East Leeds Orbital Route’ (ELOR), a key piece of transport infrastructure connecting north and east Leeds to Junction 46 of the M1. This road also unlocks land for the future construction of over 7,000 new homes on the East Leeds area.
The Award-winning development has been chosen for the new railway station ‘East Leeds Parkway’ and associated Park and Ride, connecting directly to Leeds City Centre in less than eight minutes. This forms part of a £270 million infrastructure investment into Leeds by the Department of Transport.