Developers Hammerson announced it will start its main construction works on April 7.
Its Chief Executive, David Atkins delivered the announcement at the MIPIM in the south of France. The scheme will bring the first John Lewis department store to the city along with other aspirational retailers.
The scheme will deliver a 21,000m² John Lewis store, a 21st century-inspired retail arcade with up to 30 stores, restaurants, cafes and a casino and a multi-storey car park.
Speaking on a Leeds & Partners panel to discuss the future of retail and the positive impact the scheme will have on the city, David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “A huge amount of hard work and commitment from the team, the Council and John Lewis has enabled us to reach this point. As we begin the delivery phase our focus is now to ensure we attract the best retailers and to ensure that on opening in 2016, Victoria Gate becomes a thriving destination within Leeds.”
Leeds City Council executive board member for the economy and development councillor Richard Lewis said: “This development will be the latest addition to our city’s impressive retail centre. It will be a stunning quarter bringing one of the largest names on the high street to Leeds. I’ve no doubt this will provide another welcome boost to city centre footfall, encouraging much needed economic growth and providing many new jobs and training opportunities for local people.”
Jeremy Collins, property director at John Lewis, said: “This is very exciting news. We have long-held an ambition to open a full-line John Lewis department store in Leeds. Hammerson has put together a very compelling retail destination combining the new Victoria Gate with the existing Victoria Quarter arcades. The support of the City Council has also been tremendous. We look forward to trading alongside other established retailers in the city enhancing Leeds as a premium retail destination”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, said: “The Leeds City Region is at the forefront of retail development in Europe with over ￡1bn of development in the pipeline.
“Hammerson’s Victoria Gate development reinforces the confidence that we are seeing in our regional economy and sends a clear signal that we have the capability and capacity to deliver for investors. It is fantastic news to hear that construction is due to start in less than a month, which will be a big boost to jobs in the construction industry. Victoria Gate will be another jewel in the crown of Leeds and the wider region, strengthening the quality of its leisure and retail offer and delivering another exciting chapter in the city’s development.”