The Leeds large casino licence comes onto the market this month and is expected to attract major interest from potential operators and developers.
Leeds is one of only eight local authorities to be granted a large casino licence, which permits a t
able gaming area of up to 1,000 sqm, and industry experts say it will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s already vibrant leisure offer.
Recent figures place a value of over £1.4 billion on the city’s visitor economy, while economic output Leeds and the wider city region stands at over £45 billion per annum.
“There is a compelling case for investing in Leeds: it’s a thriving and cosmopolitan city, with a dynamic economy and a growing population,” says Martin Farrington, Leeds City Council’s director of city development.
He points to £4.3 billion of investment in large scale development schemes that the city has attracted over the last ten years and says there is a further £6.5 billion in the development pipeline.
Flagship schemes currently under construction in the city centre include the new 13,500-capacity Leeds Arena and the £350 million Trinity Leeds retail and leisure development.
The 1 million sq ft development by Land Securities is the largest development of its kind currently under construction in the UK and will make Leeds the north’s leading retail destination. The scheme is already 60 per cent pre-let, a clear indication of the confidence investors and retailers have in the city’s future.
Both the arena and Trinity Leeds are scheduled to open in Spring 2013, when the council also expects to grant the large casino licence. Leeds is the largest authority with powers to grant a licence and the opportunity is expected to attract widespread interest from the industry.
Farrington argues that now is therefore the ideal time to bring the opportunity of a large casino licence to the market. “The leisure economy attracts thousands of visitors to the city, keen to enjoy its exciting
nightlife, retail offer and visitor attractions,” he says.
“In 2013 the city’s leisure economy will go up a league when the new Leeds Arena open, attracting international artists and some of the world’s biggest entertainment events. Major retail developments are also set to change the face of shopping in Leeds over the next decade.”
He expects to see major announcements about Hammerson’s Eastgate Quarters development in the next 12 months. The £600 million project features a flagship store for the John Lewis Partnership and will extend the city’s retail floorplate by 1 million sq ft.
“Leeds is a forward looking city and recently set out an aspiration to become the best city in the UK. It’s an ambitious vision for the future but one that we are confident we can achieve.
“Investors have a key role to play in helping us realise our ambitions. In return, Leeds offers a winning combination of low risk and long term gain.”
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