Council to rewrite deal with Hammerson in order to secure John Lewis anchor store at Eastgate

Leeds City Council is having to re-write its deal with developers Hammerson in order to secure a John Lewis anchor store at the proposed Eastgate Quarters retail development.

A report going to the council’s executive board for approval next Wednesday (7th March) says that unless the deal is amended Hammerson “will be unable to bring forward a commercially viable scheme with John Lewis as the main anchor store”.

Details of the amendments and their financial implications are being kept secret in confidential annexes to the report, but the changes will enable John Lewis to be trading at Eastgate by 2016.

When he was in Leeds last November, John Lewis managing director Andy Street made it clear that there were several outstanding questions that needed to be sorted out by the Council before the Eastgate scheme became viable, among them the “compulsory purchase of land”, car parking, bus diversions and “public realm” issues.

Kirkgate market

Stressing urgency, today’s report says that “any delay in completing the legal documentation as soon as practically possible may have an impact on the critical path of approvals which are being sought both from Hammerson and John Lewis Boards in March.”

“It is believed that there is now a window of opportunity to secure the delivery of John Lewis in the not too distant future along with the improvement and regeneration of a significant part of the city which has housed poor quality ‘at grade’ car parking for a considerable period of time,” it adds.

As far as the compulsory purchase orders of (unspecified) land are concerned, the report says that Hammerson and the Council have been keeping interested parties “as well informed as possible”.  Regular meetings have been held with the Civic Trust, the Kirkgate Market Forum and there has been dialogue with the Friends of the Kirkgate Market. The affected landowners are being updated regularly.

Anyone know what land they’re talking about?


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7 Responses to Council to rewrite deal with Hammerson in order to secure John Lewis anchor store at Eastgate

  1. Simon Cooke says:

    Isn’t the Eastgate development tied up with the WY Playhouse land?

    If I know John Lewis (and I do) the big argument will be about parking – JLG will only come where there’s sufficient parking near their store

  2. Didn’t know about the Playhouse connection, but given they’ve been talking to all the Kirkgate market interested parties, my guess was there’s a tie in with the refurb there.

  3. Aesop says:

    Read the top of page 2 of the viability statement below:

    CBRE provided a lot of support for Hammerson during the outline app for Eastgate.

    Simon is right about the parking. Now what land maybe freed up close to J Lewis by 2016? The new Elland Road Police HQ will be ready by 2014 so Millgarth Police Station will not be required (though this land crosses the Lady Beck making developmen awkward). Or what about the speculative development opportunity being opened up at the open market site as part of the proposed strategy for Kirkgate Market?

    • Cheers for that link, Aesop. Interesting that Hammerson appear to be less than wholehearted as recently as last month. I’d wondered about Millgarth too. They’re in a rush to get the new HQ built, though the Millgarth site is awkward, as you say – and they can’t pull it down till the new one is built. Wondered about the market too, but they’re talking about a compulsory purchase order(s) and, as far as I’m aware, the land there belongs to the council.

  4. In Council plans for the development of Kirkgate Market they often specify a landmark akin to the “Angel of the North” on the site currently occupied by the Outside Market. (where they “buy” it, they haven’t worked out) However, now all is clear; Leeds’ “Angel..” will be the John Lewis carpark.

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