Town Centre Securities PLC (TCS) has unveiled the next phase of evolution for the Merrion Centre in Leeds, with a ground-breaking planning application that is set to transform the iconic one million sq ft mixed used scheme. For the first time, the Merrion Centre is looking to introduce residential accommodation to its dynamic offering that has been proudly part of the retail, office, and leisure landscape of Leeds for the last 60 years.
In alignment with TCS’s strategic vision, the detailed planning application outlines the reimagining of Wade House and 100MC into vibrant student accommodation, freeing up local residential housing for the wider community. Recent research commissioned by Cushman & Wakefield in support of the application reveals a current student to bed ratio in Leeds of 2.13:1, with over 26,000 students lacking access to accommodation.
Proposals include two new buildings within the Merrion Centre, designed to deliver 1,110 student bedrooms, comprising a range of studios and cluster bedrooms. Amenities will include residents’ lounges, co-working spaces, meeting spaces, a cinema, gym, karaoke room, 191 secure cycle spaces and external terraces.
This significant development would involve the conversion of the 13 storey 1960’s office building Wade House, which has been predominantly vacant since May 2021. Wade House sits adjacent to a new 35 storey tower, on the site of 100MC which was previously consented as a new build office scheme.
“We have identified significant untapped potential within our Merrion estate, strategically positioning it for future growth. We are delighted to submit this crucial planning application which signifies the commencement of our upcoming strategy for the Merrion Centre.
“Our dedication to investing in and enhancing this mixed-use city centre destination is resolute, and we are excited to embark on this next phase of development.
“The surrounding location and demographic has continued to evolve over previous decades, more recently with the first direct arena and numerous student and residential developments. These changes are set to continue with further developments coming forward including the proposed Convention Centre on Merrion Way.
“Our proposition and offer across the Merrion Centre has consistently evolved to address the changes in demand across the retail and leisure elements. This application has been carefully considered to strike a balance of reuse first with the re-invention of Wade House. The two buildings provide a rare opportunity to deliver a complimentary student offer which will benefit from the vast array of retail and leisure amenities that the wider estate offers.”Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief Executive, TCS
The Merrion Centre changed the face of retail in Leeds and with over 8.2m internal visitors in 2022, it remains one of the city’s most iconic and popular destinations to date.
Over the years, TCS has continually invested in redevelopments and refurbishments across the Merrion estate, strengthening its position as a busy, relevant, mixed-use destination.
Pre-pandemic, the company invested over £70m of capital over a five-year period, delivering numerous projects including the redevelopment of Merrion House, an ibis Styles Hotel with adjoining restaurant, and the refurbishment of the 1,100 space CitiPark car park.