New plans for the future of Leeds' Majestic building have been unveiled in a huge show of ambition and confidence in the City that would see the building transformed into a stunning 65,000 sq ft office development, along with leisure and cafe spaces, within a restored structure with an iconic new roof.
The plans, which are set to be presented to the City Council's City Plans Panel on 7th July 2016, would see a new contemporary addition to the historic structure providing a truly unique yet modern office building for the future.
The Majestic was built as a cinema in the 1920s and more recently used as a bingo hall, and then nightclub, before suffering a devastating fire back in September 2014. Since then a new temporary roof and ventilation system has been installed to safeguard the external fabric of this Leeds landmark.
Mark Finch, Director of the Leeds based property company Rushbond, in unveiling the plans, said: “The Majestic is a much loved Leeds building, widely held in affection, with some great memories and nostalgic moments for so many.
“The fire was a truly sad and devastating episode in the building's life and traumatic for all those involved. Our focus is now on making the building once again majestic, so that it can truly contribute to the future economic prosperity of the City, through viable and sustainable uses.
“We have talked to many people and listened to ideas and thoughts as to how best to sustain the building in the long term, as well as seeking to understand the trends in the wider economy and the needs of the modern-day office user. We think the designs that have evolved are simply stunning and provide a fantastic opportunity to re-create the Majestic; so that it acts as a real beacon for the City as it previously did. It has the potential to mirror the finest schemes on offer in the world's leading commercial centres and provide a unique asset right at the City's commercial heart.”
The plans would see the ground floor being used as office, leisure and cafe spaces, with a grand three-storey height space offering a stunning new entrance into the core of the building. New floors would be inserted into the structure and an iconic new crown roof created.
Mark added: “There is a real collective opportunity for the Majestic to offer a distinctive environment to work in and for it to be actively and viably used, contributing to the vibrancy of City Square - as such re-creating in many ways a sense of theatre and drama, respectful to the building's history.
“Over the last 30 years our company has transformed many key Leeds landmarks, creating distinctive and interesting places and spaces, and we look forward to working with the City and the wider community on the development of these plans. It will demand a huge investment and commitment but one that we think the building deserves.”
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “The Majestic is an iconic landmark in the very heart of Leeds and is held in affection by many people in our city, so I’m really pleased to see these exciting new plans taking shape. I welcome the collaborative approach Rushbond have taken with this project, ensuring that the views of the city have been fed into the design to retain the essential character of this much loved-building.
“This distinctive and high-quality development will attract international interest. Leeds city centre continues to thrive, with major schemes like this demonstrating a high level of confidence in the city’s growing economy and our ambitions for the future.”
Gerald Jennings, President at Leeds Chamber of Commerce, added: “I am really pleased to see the new plans for the Majestic. This is an important building and landmark in the heart of the city and has a vital role in the ongoing commercial success of Leeds.
“Its location on City Square and opposite the railway station emphasise the ability the Majestic has to help shape the public space and act as a welcome beacon for those who come to Leeds to work or visit. Significant developments like this demonstrate the ability Leeds has to attract major investment and Rushbond are to be applauded in bringing such an innovative scheme forward.”
A planning application is due to be submitted in August this year and subject to planning, work could commence in early 2017.Authored by: