Why Leeds is giving office-to-education conversions full marks

Today the Leeds City Region (the 10 local authority areas of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York) is home to eight established universities and some 116,000 students. Thanks to the great retail, leisure and cultural offer of the city of Leeds in particular, as well the relative affordability of the region’s homes and lifestyle compared with London, graduate retention levels have been very high for a long time. 

The result is a strong talent pool which has proven attractive to businesses and investors alike. While some secondary office buildings are being converted into residential apartments in regional city centres across the UK, in Leeds there have also been numerous examples of education institutions undertaking conversions in order to establish a sought-after city centre presence. As a result, we are now seeing a new education district begin to emerge in the south of Leeds, as learning institutions take over office space previously used by corporate occupiers.

For business parks, promoting education use supports the creation of a more diverse mixed-use environment. Equally, locating students closer to businesses helps to introduce them to the corporate world and gives recruiters access to a pipeline of potential employees. 

At White Rose Office Park, Elliot Hudson College has recently moved into HSBC’s former office building, while there are plans to turn the former KPMG office, No.1 Embankment, into a secondary school catering for 600 students.  Additionally, the Ruth Gorse Academy and the University Technical College opened their doors in Hunslet in autumn last year.    

By closing the gap between education and the workplace, Leeds will be able to retain even more talent, facilitate future growth and strengthen its position as a regional centre for learning. As we head into 2017, the future looks bright for the both city and its students.

Further information

Read more: Savills Spotlight Leeds Cross Sector report

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