KPMG considering new Leeds HQ

Posted on by John Cronin

Accountancy firm KPMG is considering constructing a new office in Leeds on a site that has seen various schemes come and go in recent years.

Having agreed a 9 month exclusivity period with Leeds City Council, KPMG are now exploring the possibility of having a new office building built at Criterion Place in the city centre. Their current regional headquarter offices are located on nearby Neville Street and house 750 staff. The lease on this building expires in 2015.

kissing towersCriterion Place is a brownfield site and is currently a surface level car park. The land, the former site of the old Queens Hall building, has been previously earmarked for other residential and commercial projects but none have come to fruition. Sir Norman Foster designed a multi-storey office block for Royal London Insurance back in 1995 but construction of the building never went ahead. There has however been some development on the site as a 6-storey office building was built for BT several years ago.

In 2004 a large residential-led, mixed use scheme including new office space was proposed consisting of two glass towers that had earned the nickname of ‘Kissing Towers’ (pictured). This scheme, proposed by Simons Estates was cancelled in agreement with the council in 2008.

KPMG have stated that their plans for Criterion Place are at an early stage. If the scheme goes ahead, 3 office buildings will built on the site with KPMG taking one of them.  Iain Moffatt, KPMG’s Leeds office senior partner, said: “In the face of a challenging property development market we are pursuing an innovative route to meeting our future office requirements by taking on an active role of development partner.”

Leeds based property agents are hoping that the proposals will give a boost to the local office market. Alex Munro, head of commercial agency development at Knight Frank commented: “Confidence is key to progress in the office market, where companies who have survived the worst, and have conserved their assets, are now looking towards the future.”

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