Leicester City Council has agreed to terms that will help bring forward 34,000sqft of new office space as part of a major city centre development scheme we reported on in February called Project Medius.
The deal is linked to the £50milllion redevelopment of the former Stibbe site between Great Central Street and Vaughan Way. The development will include two new hotels and the area is going to be opened up as a public space. By removing the traffic and regenerating the area, there’ll be greater connectivity between Great Central Square, Leicester City Centre and Leicester Waterside. Peter Soulsby, Leicester Mayor, said in February; “As part of my vision to connect Leicester’s city centre to its Waterside area, work is about to begin on the creation of a ‘super crossing’ across Vaughan Way,” and that it’s part of the Leicester City Mayor’s Connecting Leicester programme.
It will also see the refurbishment of the former Great Central Station which will be brought back into commercial use which will breathe life back into the station since its closure in 1969. Work has already begun and since work has begun, the council have installed a number of temporary lane and footpath closures to allow for preparation works to be carried out. Since early last year, signs have been in place warning drivers of the roadworks in Leicester set to take place over this year with the entire highway works taking place over thirty-five weeks in total and should be completed by November 2018.
The other parts of the redevelopments at Great Central Street and Vaughan Way, which won’t affect traffic and include the building of the new hotels, offices and public spaces, will continue for another 50 weeks afterwards, finishing in the late summer of 2019.
The city council is set to enter into an agreement that will commit the developer to completing the office part of the development at the same time as the other elements. In return, the council has agreed to terms that could see it leasing up to half of the new office space if this is still vacant within six months of completion.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “In all likelihood, the developer will have no difficulty finding tenants for this exciting new development. Top grade office space in the city centre is in short supply but we know there is demand for it.
“Recent major investment shows a growing confidence in Leicester and it is important that the council continues to encourage the type of development needed to support growth and new jobs. This kind of fall-back agreement can be a useful tool in helping to achieve that.
“The Charles Street Buildings development is a vital part of our vision for the regeneration of this part of the city and will bring major investment into an area that has long stood vacant and neglected.
“Along with the redevelopment of the New Walk Centre site and our plans to create 60,000sqft of office space in the Waterside area, it will also help mark the most significant period of new office development in Leicester in over a decade.”
Joseph Murphy, director of Charles Street Buildings, said: “Charles Street Buildings is working very closely with Leicester City Council to deliver regeneration in the Waterside area. Our agreement concerning the new build office is an element of this and will enable us to move forward with this part of the development on a speculative basis.”
The £50million private sector investment in the area will create new permanent jobs within the city centre, and “hundreds of construction jobs” according to the Leicester City Council. The highway works will cost £3million with Leicester City Council footing the bill for most of this cost (£2.4million). The highway works will take approximately forty weeks and should be completed in autumn 2018. Planning permission was only granted in October 2017 so progress is expected to be quick with works expected to be completed by late 2019.
The major redevelopment will see the creation of a new ‘super-crossing’ across Vaughan Way itself and the creation of a safer and more attractive route connecting the city centre, the new developments and the Waterside area.
Leicester City Council is contributing £2.9milllion toward the highway work as part of the Connecting Leicester programme.
The full terms of the agreement will not be made public at this time due to commercial sensitivity, according to the Leicester City Council website, however, a formal decision is due to be taken on the option of a lease agreement by the council on Wednesday, 11 April.