By Paul Norman - Thursday, March 21, 2013

All eyes in the retail industry are on Leeds today as Land Securities opens the doors at Trinity Leeds, the 1m sq ft mall that is the only major shopping centre to open in the UK this year.
LandSecs said the £378m centre is now 90% let, with 5% in solicitors’ hands.

Tenants include 46 brands new to Leeds, such as Apple, Mango, Hollister, Superdry, D&D restaurants and Everyman Cinema.

The centre, designed by architects Chapman Taylor, houses approximately 100 shops and 20 restaurants under a glass domed roof designed by SKM Anthony Hunts, the designer behind the Eden Project.

Trinity Leeds features advanced digital capability, including interactive LCD screens, LED advertising screens which link to retailer websites and promotions, Google product search, a Trinity Leeds app featuring GPS (Android and Apple) and free wifi.

Centre staff are equipped with iPads to enable better customer service for shoppers and retailers.

LandSecs said Trinity will stimulate the city’s evening economy with late night shopping, leisure and dining and create over 2,600 new jobs.

Robert Noel, chief executive of Land Securities, said: “Trinity is good for the people of Leeds, good for retailers and is already a big success for Land Securities. Despite economic uncertainty, major shifts in retailing habits and a challenging city centre site, Land Securities has built Trinity Leeds on time, on budget and nearly fully let at opening.

“Trinity Leeds demonstrates both Land Securities’ ability to develop profitably in challenging conditions and our confidence in Leeds as a prime retailing destination. Land Securities is a long-term investor in Leeds and we have every confidence that Trinity Leeds will be a huge success”.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds city council, said: “We welcome the opening of this major development which speaks volumes for Leeds and the confidence that a long-term investor of Land Securities’ calibre has in the city’s future.”

He added: “Trinity Leeds brings a very welcome and timely jobs boost, creating opportunities for businesses and local people to gain skills and employment and much-valued apprenticeship opportunities for our young people. Alongside our own Arena project, which opens in July, this investment is transforming the city centre, strengthening the economy and underlining how Leeds is lifting the Northern economy out of recession".

Letting agents for Trinity Leeds are Central Retail, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle and Shelley Sandzer.

The new development incorporates the former Leeds Shopping Plaza, Trinity Arcade and Burton Arcade creating Trinity East, a new build development on the former Arcade sites and Trinity West, a redevelopment of the Leeds Shopping Centre.

The centre has a total retail area of 1,000,000 sq ft and will be anchored by Marks & Spencer and Primark. Other majour occupiers include River Island, Cult, Next, Hollister, H&M, Topshop, Everyman, Conran Restaurants, Mango.

The Centre is located across three of the busiest shopping streets in Leeds city centre (Briggate, Albion and Commercial Street). The centre is close to local public transport links and in the heart of the CBD.

Land Securities Group plc has bought the 460,000 sq ft (47,734 sq m) shopping centre previously on the site in 2005 as part of a corporate deal comprising nine shopping centres and adjoining office space representing a 47.7% stake in the Tops Estates plc portfolio from Tops Estates plc for a total consideration of £517m, including debt.

According to Cushman & Wakefield, the opening comes at a time when the UK recorded the lowest level of shopping centre floor space completion since 1962.

Less than 37,000 sq m of new shopping centre space was added to the market in 2012 with only one new centre: the Tesco-anchored Swan Centre in Yardley (15,607 sq m) which opened in February.  It is 54 years since only one new scheme opened in the UK in a single 12-month period.

Dec 12, 2013 By phil