The ambitious environmental, social and governance (ESG) plan will put the estate at the vanguard of work, events, and social space in the region, and help establish it as the city’s true Creative District. Over 40 businesses are currently located at Leeds Dock and the new plans aim to double that number over the next two years.

Allied London will remodel four buildings for creative, media and tech businesses at the Dock – South Quay, West Dock, East Dock and South Dock. This will open up 85,000 sq ft of fully fitted and serviced workspace and studios for the city’s creative industries to call home. The four buildings will offer a blend of spaces designed to create a truly diverse mix of businesses, independents and freelancers in the District.

The ESG plans and remodelling will establish the foundations for the next generation of creative businesses at the popular waterside district and include workspaces, studios, and event and hospitality spaces. Allied London will incorporate emerging working trends into its creation of new workspaces, aimed at the creative industries, as well as including a sharp focus on ever-increasing ESG demands from businesses.

Allied London’s proposal for the next generation of Leeds Dock estate includes:

• Two-year sustainability plan – The entire estate is to be powered by green renewable energy and will possess A-rated energy certificates for every commercial building in the district by 2026.
• Creative industry focus – A renewed emphasis on supporting the city’s creative industries and organisations, through improved infrastructure which future-proofs the district and supports emerging work trends.
• New work, studio, event and hospitality spaces – Additional amenities to accommodate the diverse work that the creative industries produce, plus the introduction of media facilities, aimed at local, regional and national businesses of all sizes, from start-ups, SMEs and established businesses.
• Affordable pricing structure – Allowing organisations of all sizes to find a space and make use of the amenities they need to create their best work on terms that suit them.
• Sponsored community facilities and activities – Additional wellness facilities and sauna, running club, open water swimming club, and paddleboard club to bring creatives together socially.

Responsible for the running of the Leeds Dock estate, Stephen Bickers, Estate Management Director at Form and Form Sustain, said: “Our aim is for Leeds Dock to lead the new generation of sustainable commercial developments in the city. These plans set out a clear blueprint for how we will improve the estate’s ESG credentials and offer businesses a sustainable home to flourish. The ‘no gas’ strategy will lead our strict environmental charge to Net Zero and allow businesses to rest assured their headquarters are as green as their working practices.”

Scott Gray, Sales Director at Department, Allied London’s flex workspace operation, said: “Since its launch 12 months ago, Department Leeds Dock’s flex workspace building has proven a huge success. At 100% occupancy, it has provided a fantastic launch pad for a new approach to the Leeds Creative District and the advent of a workspace that accommodates creative businesses at the cutting edge.

“We have created a space that is different to anywhere else in Leeds. It is a genuine destination and has a great atmosphere and environment. Department will be at the heart of the Creative District we are establishing with the new workspace locations creating a complete ecosystem for businesses from the creative sectors. Large corporates on long leases bring some benefits, however, a district that supports different-sized businesses in shaping their own workspace increases diversity and builds a greater feeling of community. We can be the go-to place for the creative industries in the city.”

Amy Matthams, General Manager of Department Leeds Dock, Allied London’s flex workspace company, said: “Following the stellar success of Department Leeds Dock, we are opening a new floor in the building which allows us to add further amenities for our members to benefit from. In addition, we are introducing Department Studios and Department Creative to the space to better cater to the creative industries. These amenities work on a plug-and-play model and let members add the features they need only when they need them. This will help us welcome more members who don’t just work at their desks but in a plethora of spaces.”

Michael Ingall, CEO of Allied London, said: “We have invested a large amount of time, resource and energy into Leeds Dock in recent years, however, it is now time to future-proof the estate and ensure its success into 2030 and beyond.

“Our vision is to establish Leeds Dock as the Leeds Creative District. While others in the city are failing to support the region’s creatives, we are ready to accommodate them and support their ideas and innovation.

“I’m sure every investor, owner and manager of office buildings has been looking at the post-Covid environment and going through the various possibilities. We have concluded that there is a need for even greater diversity of inventory, occupiers and users. We must focus on our communities and the sectors that want to be together regularly in the workplace or studio. Their productivity and outputs are significantly increased by being in an inspiring place. Leeds Creative District can offer all this and more.

“We have established a vibrant community and these plans will help us scale it, bringing even more enjoyment to the work and social lives of the people that call it home. Our plans will bring more commerce to the city and make it relevant to the locality and also to Leeds as a whole.”

Big corporates struggling to adapt offers others an opportunity

Discussing changes to the workplace since the pandemic and the businesses that occupy it, Michael Ingall, CEO of Allied London, said:

“Big corporate sector occupiers are still struggling to adapt to the changing demands of their workforce. This results in many having only partly occupied buildings throughout the week which can have significant negative effects on wider placemaking strategies.

“The old corporate office is now a very alien place for many people. Many young members of the workforce aren’t even aware of office culture and practices from before the pandemic. The change in both human and corporate behaviour means there is a requirement for new placemaking strategies that can flex around trends and industry demands. This is why we have chosen to relaunch Leeds Dock for a new generation and a new way of working. The strategy puts creative industries and ESG at the heart of everything we do.

“Our Department workspace has taken Leeds by storm – shown by the high occupancy levels. Its design, range of inventory, and service levels have brought something very new to Leeds and the city loves it. The variety of layered amenities available to members including hospitality, wellness and fitness facilities, and community events and groups, has created a platform for a thriving community.

“All this plus our VERSA Studios Leeds facilities nearby mean we’re able to attract international film production and broadcast companies, such as Netflix and Amazon to the region. There is so much we have to offer the city which is evidenced by our recent venture with Future Entertainment Artists, the makers of Bank of Dave, Poker Face, Breaking Point, and many other movies.

“We can connect Leeds Dock with VERSA Studios Leeds to create a unique creative industries hub-and-spoke ecosystem. This will also complement our Department workspace brand, with Department Studios and Department Creative all offering different facilities for different companies on a plug-and-play basis.

“Cities need creative industries. The combination of a city with heritage and creative industry support is also a powerful force in creating employment and wider social and economic wealth in the region, and we aim to achieve this with our latest investments in Leeds.”

Leeds Dock is hosting UKREiiF, the UK’s Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum, for the third consecutive year, this week, – 21 May – 23 May – at the waterside district.

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