And a happy new year it's turning out to be for the Merrion Centre! The reason is Town Centre Securities PLC, a leading property investment and development company, has been granted planning consent to redevelop 80,000 sq ft the Merrion Centre into a leisure scheme called New Front.
Picture: artists impression of what the completed Merrion Centre could look like next year.
It will be divided into seven units, the largest of which (measuring in at 30,000 sq ft) has been pre-let to existing tenant ten-pin bowling operator 1st Bowl. There will also be a new 1,000 space car park. They hope to have work completed before the opening of the adjacent Leeds Arena, which, if all goes to schedule, be ready in February 2013. Personally, I'd like to see a giant hourglass placed outside the Merrion Centre to give Town Centre Securities a very visual public deadline. That would be some positive motivation!
This new development is set to cost £13 million. No one would deny that the rather drab 1960's entity that the Merrion Centre currently is could do with a facelift. It is hoped that this mega-makeover will enhance the area, create a number of new jobs, and spark a wider regeneration of the city centre. These are lofty ambitions indeed; if they are right the next decade could be very exciting for Leeds in terms of investment and redevelopment.
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