Merrion House
Anna Addison

Member Article

Leeds landmark to undergo transformation

Leeds City Council has unveiled new plans for Merrion House in the city centre after a new agreement was reached for the building to be redeveloped and expanded.

In a new deal, just announced by Leeds City Council and building owners Town Centre Securities PLC, the existing Merrion House is to be completely refurbished and a new extension is to be added to provide a new one stop centre for all main council services in the city centre.

The deal represents the largest office pre-let in Leeds city centre in more than 20 years, with the council’s existing long-term lease arrangement on Merrion House being replaced by a new 25-year agreement. As part of the new deal, the building will become jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Town Centre Securities PLC.

The agreement, which is subject to planning approval, would see staff numbers in the new Merrion House increase from 1200 to 1900 and allow the council to retain a maximum of four key city centre office buildings with the others being Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George’s House.

Six council buildings have already been disposed of and there will be a minimum of seven more to follow in order to bring about savings of more than £15million over 25 years. This is being achieved under the council’s changing the workplace programme, adopting flexible and modern new working methods and environments to improve efficiency.

The new Merrion House, located close to the new Leeds Arena, will offer around 170,000 square feet of office space in total, including 50,000 square feet of office space in a new extension.

The new six-story extension will feature a new integrated one stop centre on the ground floor, offering the public access to all the main council services plus a number of additional partner services including Leeds City Credit Union and the Volunteer Centre Leeds.

The building will include a mezzanine in order to create more space and an atrium to maximise the provision of natural light into the new one stop centre. The facility will host enquiry positions and rooms, self-service points, waiting areas, public toilets and baby change facilities as well as a Changing Places Accessible toilet.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Town Centre Securities PLC. I am particularly pleased that the newly-integrated one stop centre will enable us to offer better, easier access to a whole range of services to the public, all in a modern, state-of-the-art new building.

“At the same time, we will be saving a substantial amount of money – over £15million - which can be reinvested into those same services for the benefit of local people.

“The improvements will also help with the drive to regenerate a key area of the city centre, complementing the First Direct Arena and the Merrion Centre, and will help Leeds to continue to grow both economically and culturally, as well as assisting to meet our ambition of becoming the best city in the UK.”

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Town Centre Securities PLC, added:

“To be able to bring all the council’s operations together at Merrion House in what represents the largest city centre office deal in over two decades is another achievement for the Arena Quarter.

“With the continued investment into the Merrion Centre, the area is transforming itself into one of the city’s most important destinations and this latest deal is testament to that. We are looking forward to creating a superb new facility for the council to enable its long-term strategic goals.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Addison .

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