A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Leeds as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
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Leeds is a city in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds’ main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247 while the entire city had a population of 770,800 (2008 est.). Leeds is the cultural and commercial heart of the wider West Yorkshire Urban Area, which at the 2001 census had a population of 1.5 million and the Leeds city region, an economic area with Leeds at its core, had a population of 2.9 million.
In the 17th and 18th centuries Leeds became a major centre for the production and trading of wool. During the Industrial Revolution, Leeds developed into a major industrial centre; wool was still the dominant industry but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing and other industries were also important.
The diverse array of landmarks, which includes rural open spaces and impressive historical buildings, reflects both its industrial past and its many current roles. The multicultural nature of the city is evidenced in the range of religious buildings and cultural festivals present.
The city is a major centre of higher education, being the seat of the internationally acclaimed University of Leeds as well as Leeds Metropolitan University, and Leeds Trinity University College.
The student population has stimulated growth of the nightlife in the city and there are ample facilities for sporting and cultural activities, including classical and popular music festivals, and a varied collection of museums.
Leeds has been described as one of the UK’s most successful cities and has the second largest level of employment total outside London.
Locate in Leeds advise that Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK’s main employment centres. The city is a major centre for manufacturing and commerce, with an estimated 443,600 people employed in the local economy.
With a workforce of 116,500 employed in the sector, Leeds is the UK’s largest centre for professional and financial services outside of London, and an integral part of the UK’s financial services industry.
Leeds is home to the UK’s third biggest manufacturing sector. Within the sector, the city is the UK’s largest provincial printing centre. It is also one of the largest centres for the communications and media industries.
The city is one of the country’s top shopping destinations, with shoppers from across the UK drawn to Leeds by leading fashion retailers including Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton, and Vivienne Westwood.
Retail in Leeds is set to be transformed by the £650 million Trinity Leeds and the £800 million Eastgate Quarters. The two proposed developments will create over 2 million sq ft of state of the art retail space in the city centre.
The tourism industry supports over 14,000 jobs in Leeds. Major attractions include the Henry Moore Institute, Royal Armouries, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Harewood House, and Leeds Castle.
The city is a major employment provider for the region as a whole, with over 100,000 people commuting to work in Leeds from outside the district every day.
As regional capital, Leeds is the main centre for utilities providers and government departments in the region. There are over 27,000 businesses in Leeds registered for VAT and / or PAYE. 290 organisations based in the city employ at least 200 people each, representing 39% of employment but only 1.1% of all organisations.
Passenger numbers through Leeds Bradford International Airport grew by 3% in 2007 and are projected to reach 7 million per annum by 2030.
The value of the city’s economy is estimated at £13.2 billion (2009).
Office Space to Rent in Leeds
According to Drivers Jonas Office Trends Key Cities 2009 report, prime headline report rose by 4% in 2008 and at the end of the year stood at £26.00 per sq ft. This was largely due to the lack of top quality stock available in the city centre. Rent free periods for leasehold offices are generally 20 – 24 months for a 10 year term certain.
2008 take-up was the lowest in Leeds for many years at 400,000 sq ft, below the 10 year average of 550,000 sq ft. The mainstay of activity in the office market was from small transactions sub 5,000 sq ft. There was a noticeable increase in market “churn” with occupiers seeking to upgrade their accommodation by relocating to higher quality offices, releasing second-hand space back into the market.
However, the second half of the year saw demand drop significantly as occupiers reassessed their relocation plans due to the deteriorating economic climate.
Drivers Jonas Leeds Crane Survey 2009 reports that several prime office developments completed at the end of 2008 as developers were encouraged to the city by the lack of Grade A space.
Currently more than 80% of the new space completed in 2008 & 2009 is still available as occupiers have decided to delay relocation plans until the UK economy improves. In turn developers have delayed the start of construction on a number of sites, most seeking to secure a pre-let prior to commencement.
Drivers Jonas Leeds Occupier Survey 2008 found that 60% of the firms surveyed have been based in the city centre for ten or more years and a quarter of respondents have occupied buildings in the city for over 25 years. This indicates that companies are happy with the location.
The survey found that 89% of those surveyed said their company’s head office was located in Leeds.
Respondents of the survey said that the best things about Leeds are; “Being art of a vibrant dynamic city”, “It’s a major financial capital”, “Great motorway access”, “Accessibility for staff”, “Innovative office space”.
Encouragingly the survey found that businesses like the area so much that they stay for many years, and are exceptionally loyal to Leeds. Just 2% of those surveyed stated that they move away from the city.
Leeds train station is located in the centre of Leeds and links with all major UK cities with a travel time to London of approximately 2hrs 20 minutes.
The centre of Leeds is served with a bus service and the centre is linked to both the M62 and M1 motorways with the M1 just minutes away.
Leeds Bradford airport is 7 miles from the centre of Leeds and has a regular domestic and international flight timetable with the flight time to London being approximately 30 minutes.
Landmarks and Tourism
Leeds is a thriving city, rich in culture and heritage, by night, Leeds comes alive with restaurants, bars, clubs and other entertainment. There is a broad range of cultural attractions, including renowned theatre, opera and ballet companies, with something to appeal to every taste.
The fast-paced, city centre is complemented by stunning local countryside, which lies within easy reach. For residents and visitors alike, the city has much to offer, from the award-winning Royal Armouries, Leeds Castle, and Leeds’ finest stately home, Harewood House.
Sport remains important to Leeds life, especially with the successes of the Leeds Rhinos in Rugby League and Leeds Tykes in Rugby Union. The teams share their home at Headingley Carnegie Stadium with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Following their recent promotion Leeds United Football Club will be playing in the Championship at Elland Road next season (2010/11).
Leeds boasts 21 golf courses , ranging from exclusive clubs to pay and play courses. Xscape, located of the M62, is home to one of the country’s largest indoor ski-slopes.