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Leeds Crane Survey 2024

Momentum Continues
Leeds Crane Survey 2024

Key findings

Market summary

Leeds has spent 2023 continuing to deliver great regeneration projects at the heart of the city centre and has set the groundwork for continued delivery over the coming years. It has also begun to diversify and intensify the city centre offer. The momentum has been strong despite the challenging economic climate and there have been 16 new starts in 2023 remaining above the Crane Survey annual average of 14.

Like many regional cities, Leeds has felt the effects of national and international uncertainties that have impacted development over the past year. Frequently reported macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges, together with changes in consumer behaviour have not helped the property market and contributed to a slowdown in the number of new starts across the survey area in 2023. We have seen a re-balancing of construction activity following record-breaking development in 2021 and 2022. Despite this, 2023 has been a strong year for the City across a number of sectors.

The student development sector delivered a second consecutive record-breaking year of development, with 3,704 beds under construction across 10 schemes, 1,558 of these new starts across the Arena Point, Store House, Dyson Chambers and King House schemes. These figures exceed even 2022’s record-breaking results. It is also worth noting that Store House is a new development in the Retail Core, a route to diversification required to sustain the City Core.

The wider residential sector also remains strong, with 15 schemes currently under construction compared to 15 in 2022, and 11 in 2021, with almost half being new starts in 2023. Recent growth in the residential sector has seen the market mature, with different areas of the city offering differing residential offerings, helped by focused planning guidance from Leeds City Council (LCC), which has supported regeneration in areas such as the South Bank and Mabgate. A considerable amount of office floorspace was unlocked in the city in 2023, through the completion of 698,996 sq. ft. of office floorspace across three schemes, a record-breaking, sixfold increase over 2022, when 97,702 sq. ft. were delivered. In 2023 the total amount of office floorspace under construction fell to 287,013 sq. ft. from 858,448 sq. ft. in 2022. There is some uncertainty around the future of the office market given the economic headwinds, and the delivery of the office pipeline is something to pay particular attention to. However, there is compelling evidence of continuing demand for city centre office space.

Key ‘Connecting Leeds Sustainable Transport Programme’ works − infrastructure projects such as the Sustainable Travel Gateway works at Leeds Railway Station, Leeds City Square and Armley Gyratory works have continued to create a more connected and accessible city, setting foundations for future growth.

Furthermore, development locations in Leeds continued to extend in 2023 beyond the historic physical barriers of the city, with further growth in the South Bank and emerging developments altering the skyline of the North East Fringe. In addition, the expanding sustainable transport network has driven development even further afield, with the forthcoming White Rose Railway Station supporting new investment.

With the continuing growth of the city beyond its historic ‘centre’, we expect further work on connectivity and accessibility to be undertaken, to assist in bolstering Leeds as a people-focused city.

The Leeds development cycle

Our Crane Survey data indicates that the current development cycle, which began in 2014, has probably peaked. In general, development activity in Leeds has remained strong since 2014 but the peak of the development cycle was probably reached over the past two years, with the figures and market influences for 2023 perhaps indicating the start of a new cycle.

Looking further ahead, emerging connectivity infrastructure investments across the city and wider region, together with LCC’s policy foundations, seek to bolster growth and development.

1. Vibrancy in the City Core

Education, student retention and innovation

Two new educational use schemes were brought to site in 2023, with the Leeds Mathematics School and the Leeds City College Mabgate Campus providing new facilities within the city. The Leeds Mathematics School, located within the newly converted 53,000 sq. ft. space at 105 Albion Street, started on site in 2023. Now completed, it is set to teach a specialist Further Mathematics curriculum to students aged 16 to 19. Leeds City College’s new campus in Mabgate, once complete, will provide new education space, sports facilities, and a theatre as well as shops, cafés, and student accommodation.

Looking forward, the Innovation Arc in the west of the city centre will create a place for Leeds’ anchor institutions to grow and support further new investment in the health, life sciences and digital sectors. The Leeds Universities, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and LCC are working in collaboration with private sector partners to bring forward the Innovation Arc as a series of connected neighbourhoods, bringing together some of the major innovation assets in the north of England.

Leeds continues to boast a thriving digital and technology sector, supporting the aspirations for the Innovation Arc. Notably, the new West Yorkshire Investment Zone, announced in the Autumn Statement, will lead to repurposing the Old Medical School on Great George Street as part of the Innovation Arc, as well as encouraging new investment in other dynamic growth sectors.

Leeds is rapidly emerging as a major innovation centre, with the Leeds City Region proudly housing more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students than anywhere else outside London. The graduate retention rate in Leeds has also increased considerably over the past three years: a study carried out by student accommodation provider ‘Liberty Living’ placed Leeds as the fifth best city at retaining students (39%) after they graduate.

Leeds is well known as a financial city, and this reputation continues to be bolstered by the establishment of the UK Infrastructure Bank at One Embankment, the relocation of the Financial Conduct Authority to 6 Queen Street in late 2022 and a relocation of further Bank of England operations to the city.

Looking to the future, the banking and finance sector in Leeds is expected to continue to grow and evolve, with a focus on innovation and technology. Financial technology (Fintech) startups are expected to play an increasingly important role in the sector, with a range of new companies entering the market and developing innovative solutions for financial services. In the 2022 Leeds Crane Survey it was reported that collectively Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester represent the second largest hub in the UK for Fintech, home to over 100 Fintech firms that contribute more than £700 million per annum to the regional economy in Leeds.1

Growth and expansion in the student sector

Leeds city centre has seen a surge in new student accommodation developments in the past three years, catering to the growing population of students in the city and supporting a vibrant and diverse city centre. 2023 was the second year in succession in which the city had record-breaking levels of development, with 3,704 student beds currently under construction, a 12% increase over the 3,294 beds under construction in 2022.

The supply of student accommodation remains strong across the city, with four new starts providing 1,558 beds across both the University Quarter and City Core.

Significant growth in the student sector in 2023 was delivered by both large-scale conversions and new developments across the city centre. This has been part of a trend over the past six years, with 5,271 student beds delivered within the Crane Survey area since 2018. The deliverability of such schemes, as well as meeting demand and freeing up family housing in the north west of the city, has enabled the continued delivery of student accommodation in the city centre. New student accommodation has migrated from the north west of the city towards the heart of the City Core, with schemes such as Store House on Briggate blending with, and helping to activate, Leeds’ retail centre. Store House will provide 369 new beds alongside ground floor and basement retail space, to bring vibrancy back to the former House of Fraser site.

New developments and conversions in the student accommodation sector look set to continue, as emerging schemes provide a strong pipeline in both the University Quarter and City Core. Schemes such as Seminary Street, Headrow Court, and Wade House and 100 Merrion Street will continue the large-scale delivery of student accommodation in the city over the past three years.

Reactivating and refocusing the City Core

2023 marks the first year since the opening of Victoria Gate in 2016 when substantial investment in the Retail Core has progressed, with two schemes under construction on Briggate that will revitalise an area that has seen several store closures in the post-pandemic period.

The Store House development on the former site of House of Fraser will deliver over 33,000 sq. ft. of prime retail floorspace at ground floor, alongside 369 student bedspaces on the upper floors in a brand-new building. The use of the upper floors for student accommodation will increase footfall in this key street in Leeds’ Retail Core. The opening of the new flagship Flannels store on Briggate in early 2024 on the site of the former Debenhams will be another important development for the city's retail sector, adding to the growing number of high-end fashion brands and luxury retailers in the city. The store will trade from all six floors of the existing building, providing high-end retail as well as leisure facilities including a gym, and food and beverage spaces. This is a significant step forward for Leeds’ high street in creating a new type of ‘department store’ which caters for the changing role of the traditional high street.

It is also notable that plans to redevelop ‘The Core’ shopping centre were submitted in 2023. The proposal will capitalise on the recent public realm investments on the Headrow whilst also refocussing the use of the shopping centre to include more experiential focussed shopping and leisure offerings.

Diversification, supported by investments in the public realm, will continue to drive positive change and will create a sense of place and identity, attracting visitors and businesses, and supporting the local economy. The delivery of 982 new apartments in the City Core, with about 2,700 more on-site or in the pipeline, will eventually help to support footfall and create a sustainable city centre with a greater diversity of activities, and ensure that the City Core is not just reliant on footfall from office workers.

In October, the Merrion Centre has experienced an average uplift of 37% in weekly shoppers since the start of the new academic year. This further illustrates the impact of higher student numbers within the city centre, for example with the increase in student accommodation in Briggate.

It is clear that the pandemic has changed the way we think about places, and how we use them to work, travel and shop. Now firmly in a post-pandemic recovery period, we are seeing positive steps to re-activate the City Core, brought about by both public sector initiatives, notably Leeds2023, as well as new private sector developments.

Leeds2023 made several achievements in 2023. The designation has brought international recognition to the city, with over 2,880 articles noting the city’s role as a vibrant and dynamic destination for arts and culture.2 The numbers of visitors to the city have increased, boosting the local economy and creating new job opportunities.

The successes of Leeds2023 have been supplemented by the role of Leeds Business Improvement District (BID), which continues to support the city centre by maintaining and animating public space and improving the visitor experience in the city. For example, the innovative Jurassic Trail increased footfall in the city centre in 2023 by 34%.3

Whilst no new hotel schemes started construction in 2023, two hotels are scheduled to complete in early 2024. The Hyatt at Sovereign Square No.2 and the Jubilee Hotel on the East Parade will deliver a total of 392 rooms in early 2024.

In November 2023 it was announced that the UK’s annual Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) would be hosted in Leeds for the foreseeable future. This is valuable platform for Leeds to promote itself on an international stage. During 2022 and 2023, the hotel offering in Leeds has faced a challenge to keep up with the demand created by major events such as UKREiiF, so this announcement is an opportunity for Leeds to invest in hotel developments to support the hosting of such events in the future.

Office market trends

2023 saw a record-breaking delivery of office floorspace following post-pandemic construction activity in the past two years. Four office buildings were completed in 2023 compared to two the previous year, representing a six-fold increase in floorspace delivered, from 97,702 sq. ft. in 2022 to 698,996 sq. ft. in 2023 of which 385,702 sq. ft. was delivered across two schemes in the South Bank area.

One office scheme started construction in 2023, compared to two in 2022, and at the end of 2023 287,013 sq. ft. were under construction across three schemes. The year-on-year decrease from 2022 can be attributed in part to uncertainty around the future of the office market. However, annual figures can distort trend lines and there is evidence for continuing strong demand for city centre office space.

According to figures released by the Leeds Office Agents Forum (LOAF), in Q3 2023, occupier activity was up by seven per cent on the previous year. It seems that, with consecutive years of demand for office space outstripping supply, especially for Grade A accommodation, there is a shortage of high-quality new or renovated properties in the market. Lack of quality supply has put pressure on rental levels with prime rents rising to £36 per sq. ft., and headline rents on forthcoming new build developments are being quoted at £38-£40 per sq. ft. In comparison, Manchester’s Grade A office prime rent is £43 per sq. ft. and take-up has increased by eight per cent in 2023 compared to 2022.4

According to the Deloitte EU CFO Survey 2023, 58% of CFOs believe their businesses will face significant or wholesale change in the move to a low-carbon economy in the next ten years.5 For Leeds to continue to attract developments with strong environmental credentials, continued investment in Grade A office space will be required.

Aire Park Plot MU4, the only new start office development in 2023, will offer over 123,600 sq. ft. of Grade A office space and 7,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground floor. The detailed design of the proposal represents a high-quality sustainable development, which provides a foundation for the creation of a vibrant mix-use area. Another office development under construction is West Village, located in the Western Fringe area, which will provide almost 21,500 sq. ft. of refurbished office space. This development is a Bruntwood Works Pioneer project, which means that it is ‘net zero carbon in operation’ and will offer flexible serviced office spaces with a focus on collaborative breakout areas.

In Q2 2023, a large deal in the city centre saw HM Courts & Tribunal Service commit to 26,328 sq. ft. in Bruntwood’s West Gate scheme; moving from offices on East Parade. This provides an opportunity to create a judicial hub in the city and accommodate services that would otherwise be located in London or other regional cities.

Wellington Place continues to be a hotspot for office development with a range of high-quality commercial spaces, which are attracting a number of large businesses. The two largest city centre lettings were both concluded in Q3 2023 at 4 Wellington Place, committing over 39,804 sq. ft. in the development through acquisitions of floorspace by Irwin Mitchell and analytics company RELX. Earlier in the year, 124,000 sq. ft. were let to banking group Lloyds at Wellington Place.

11 and 12 Wellington Place, which has the title of the most energy efficient building in Leeds, is currently 97% let, with only 7,955 sq. ft. of office capacity remaining. The sustainable office development has attracted both new companies to the city, as well as companies with an existing presence in Leeds, with Arup relocating to 11 & 12 Wellington Place, from their previous office in Leeds.

Working from home

Since the pandemic we have seen businesses adapting to hybrid working and working from home. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but 2023 saw more businesses adopting a ‘structured hybrid approach’ whereby attendance in offices is mandated for a number of days or percentage of hours per week. Alongside that there has been debate around how home working can support other national and local policy objectives, such as closing the gender pay gap and reducing the carbon footprint of travel to work.

It is however clear that Leeds is still attracting commuters into the city centre. The Office of Road and Rail have recently published their annual statistics on rail station footfall for the year up to the 31st March 2023 reinforcing that Leeds Station remains the busiest regional train station. The data shows footfall increases in Leeds Station has increased by 24.35% in the 2022/23 financial year and is recovering to pre-Covid footfall levels faster at 77% of 2020 annual footfall compared to 66% for Birmingham and 73% for Manchester6.

As businesses navigate new ways of working, the market is seeking more flexibility with 72% of landlords anticipating that tenants will move to flexible lease terms. In addition, a rise in demand has been evident for fitted space to allow for collaboration, in contrast to more traditional rows of desks in office buildings. The future of how people will work in offices is uncertain; however it will be important that the city centre should remain flexible, to adapt to whatever the future holds.

Outlook for office in Leeds

There is a significant number of office schemes currently in the pipeline, with the majority to be delivered in the South Bank. These schemes include Latitude Yellow, One Globe Square, Wellington Plaza and No. 9 Wellington Place. In October 2023, a joint venture partnership between Asset Capital and Prescient Capital was approved for Wellington Plaza. This scheme will deliver 77,000 sq. ft. and is one of the last remaining standalone gateway sites in Leeds’ West End business district. The redesign of the building’s façade has been influenced by the Central Area Leeds City Centre Conservation Area and ESG credential targets, which include achieving BREEAM Outstanding, a minimum NABERS 5 Star rating, Fitwell 3 Star certification, and Wired Score Platinum Certification.

Outside the city centre, plans have been submitted for a 145,000 sq. ft. Station Plaza office development at White Rose Park in Leeds. This aims to be the first BREEAM Outstanding and NABERS 5 star rated out-of-town development in Leeds,and sets an example for others to follow. The new Grade A office buildings boast high specifications and aim to be carbon neutral, in line with the aspiration for the whole of White Rose Park to be carbon neutral by 2030. The recent injection of funds into this area can be attributed to the construction of a £26.5 million new railway station at the White Rose Shopping Centre, which has spurred investment in the area. There are five office schemes in the pipeline, all focusing on sustainability credentials.

Refurbishing existing buildings can be an effective way to meet demand in the market for quality and flexibility, particularly in the light of the trend towards domestication of office fit-outs. With more businesses seeking to create a comfortable and inviting work environment, refurbishing existing buildings can provide an opportunity to create spaces that meet these needs. It can also be a good way to deliver high quality office floorspace with lower embodied carbon than new build developments. Existing buildings will also need to respond to the anticipated tightening of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations which will see developers and landlords under pressure to achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of B by 2030.

2. City connectivity

Impact of city connectivity investments

In 2023 completed work on City Square has had a transformational impact on the experience of arriving in Leeds. The city centre has also enjoyed the benefits from the completion of other various public realm improvements that have been undertaken in the past three to four years and which are changing the look and feel of the city centre.

Initiatives to improve accessibility and transportation infrastructure continue to move forward, transforming the way the city centre functions. A key facet of this strategic initiative involves substantial public sector investment in critical nodes across the city, such as Leeds Railway Station and various pivotal areas across the city. Spearheaded by projects such as ‘Connecting Leeds’ and the ‘Sustainable Travel Gateway’, these concerted efforts not only aim to improve accessibility to the central railway station but also to establish a resilient and sustainable travel framework for Leeds.

‘Connecting Leeds’ seeks to create a sustainable travel framework, with the aim of accommodating emerging technologies and promoting eco-friendly transportation. This encompasses projects such as the integration of the Mass Transit Vision, the ‘Sustainable Travel Gateway Project’, and the Cycle Superhighway.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and LCC are delivering the ‘Sustainable Travel Gateway Project’ alongside Network Rail to transform the main entrance to the station and the surrounding area, due to complete in Q3 2025. In addition to the public realm works, the project will also improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

The city’s emphasis on sustainable travel will need to be integrated within broader municipal schemes, articulated in the Mass Transit Vision. The overarching objective is to enhance inclusivity and accessibility, extending beyond the needs of commuters to address the requirements of West Yorkshire residents. The connectivity afforded to the city region by Mass Transit will also serve to increase access to job opportunities. It is anticipated that public consultation on the mass transit route options will be launched in 2024 and that WYCA will set out agreed routes by mid-2025.

Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) is undertaking a project to transform passenger experience at the airport, with expected completion of their terminal improvements in early 2026. This investment has the potential to create 4,000 new indirect jobs, as well as contributing £940 million to the local economy.7 Additionally, the works will also help LBA to achieve its ambition to cater for seven million passengers per annum by 2030.

The airport’s 2030 Net Zero Carbon Roadmap is a forward-thinking commitment to environmental sustainability, with plans to decarbonise its operations, with the installation of new lighting, new heating and machinery, including new baggage belts. These proposals mark a milestone in the city’s air transportation infrastructure to make Leeds more competitive and attractive to international investment.

WYCA is also exploring a proposal for Airport Parkway, to improve connectivity. Currently in the pre-planning stages, with an anticipated application submission in August 2024, this initiative aims to establish a park-and-ride facility accommodating up to 350 spaces for rail users. Beyond addressing immediate transit needs, the proposal seeks to strengthen regional rail connections, linking residents from key areas such as Leeds, Harrogate and York. The proposal goes beyond commuting convenience and envisions an integrated rail network that connects the region’s cities to the airport, and a new employment hub.

Looking at the broader regional landscape, the Network North project announced in 2023 as an alternative to High Speed 2 (HS2) has secured £2.5 billion in funding for a mass transit system. Network North promises improvements, including the electrification of rail lines and the delivery of specific projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, but questions remain about its impact on rail developments initially earmarked under HS2. There are also potential challenges for businesses, exemplified notably by concerns about safeguarded land for existing landowners and occupiers in South Bank.

While Network North enhances regional connectivity, it does not provide a solution to the looming capacity constraints at Leeds Station. In contrast to the potential capacity increase that HS2 could have delivered, Network North leaves the question of station capacity unresolved, with projections indicating that existing capacity may reach its limit by the end of the decade. This raises important considerations about the long-term sustainability and adaptability of the current transit infrastructure in Leeds. It is however promising that the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) programme will provide an improved linkages within the north of England, better connecting Sheffield and Leeds and other key regional cities.

The various connectivity projects work collectively towards not only expanding accessibility but doing so with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Taken together they embody a forward-thinking urban development vision demonstrating that sustainability and connectivity can go hand in hand, shaping the city into a model for the future of sustainable urban living.

3. Emergence and expansion of city centre communities

The residential market in Leeds is developing faster than in most years since the 2008 recession, with 5,274 new homes delivered within the Crane Survey area since 2018 and a further 2,123 due to be delivered in 2024. Leeds is clearly reaching a critical mass of residential development in the city centre and making city centre living attractive for an ever-widening spectrum of the population.

Residential trends in Leeds are undergoing a transformation, with an emphasis on creating vibrant and inclusive urban neighbourhoods. A further focal point of large-scale plans is shifting towards South Leeds. The South Bank area shows continued growth, experiencing the most completions as well as having the highest number of units under construction (1,261) in 2023.

This shift is supported by the delivery of green infrastructure, such as Aire Park, delivering critical green infrastructure and much needed amenity space to support the fast growing residential community. The first phase of this has been realised along Meadow Lane. The success of such spaces is supported by public art interventions, such as Hibiscus Rising at Aire Park, which create interest and a destination for people to visit and dwell in, rather than just passing through.

Mabgate and the North East Fringe

The North-East Fringe area is also experiencing growth, with 898 residential units currently under construction, including SOYO Phase 2, a mixed-use development delivering 331 of these residential units alongside 12,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

Mabgate, is emerging as one of Leeds’ new city centre residential neighbourhoods. One important development for Mabgate are plans for a new campus for Leeds City College, in addition to its existing campus at Quarry Hill in Mabgate.

Activity in the South Bank

Leeds is witnessing a shift towards creating more inclusive, connected, and self-sufficient neighbourhoods. This involves redefining residential spaces, fostering mixed-use developments, and embracing the concept of establishing communities with a wide range of services and facilities within an easy reach of homes. These trends underscore a commitment to creating urban environments that prioritise accessibility, diversity, and the overall well-being of residents.

There is an increasing prevalence of mixed-use developments that cater to different residential markets within their designs. This shift is an evolution from the traditional emphasis on attracting young professionals to the city centre. Instead, there is a growing commitment to creating residential products and spaces that cater to a diverse range of residents, fostering environments where individuals of all ages and backgrounds can integrate their work, living and recreational activities.

This is being manifested in the South Bank through the delivery of a wider variety of residential offers, with more family housing, three-bed apartments and longer-term rental options.

4. Outlook

Building blocks have been put in place in 2023 which will ensure Leeds’ long-term success. The city centre has been transformed by the public realm and connectivity investments, most notably the works in City Square. These investments have had a positive impact on the look, feel and attractiveness of the city centre and have set the stage for Leeds to continue to grow. The key trends to watch out for in coming years are set out below.

Net zero

Net zero targets rightly continue to dominate construction agendas. 2023 saw a step up in the number of developments and pipeline proposals which are seeking to achieve high sustainability and net zero credentials. To deliver these innovative low and zero carbon developments, it will be essential for the industry to work together to deliver more sustainable developments to ensure that we can learn from experience and share lessons to improve practice and make meaningful steps towards delivering a net zero carbon economy.


The functionality of the city centre is changing with infrastructure now in place to make walking and cycling easier. Future development needs to build on this existing infrastructure to connect attractions and sustainably connect the wider city and existing communities to ensure inclusivity.

The quality of the city centre’s public realm has improved significantly in recent years, notably with the continuing efforts of the Leeds BID to improve the experience of all those who use the city centre. However, further opportunities remain to improve the experience of living in the city centre, through large-scale interventions or smaller-scale pop-ups or re-imaginations of space – particularly the key municipal spaces such as Briggate, Millennium Square and City Square.

Continued investments into transport and connectivity within the city centre and its periphery are welcomed. We look forward to seeing the result of LCC’s proactive approach to reviewing the outcomes of recent infrastructure investments so future projects will benefit from lessons learned.


After a year of strong delivery, the future of the office market in Leeds remains somewhat uncertain with turbulent market conditions and uncertainty around the hybrid working model. Evidence suggests that demand for high-quality office space is still outstripping supply, and that the market needs to respond to deliver high-quality office products to attract businesses to Leeds, and ensure that the city does not lose out to other regional cities.

The market should consider how to introduce flexibility to office products, such as shorter and flexible tenancy agreements to help occupiers navigate the uncertainties around hybrid working models, as well as making offices physically more flexible to support a range of occupiers.

Residential critical mass

With another strong year of delivery in the residential sector, the market has matured, such that new self-sustaining neighbourhoods that are attractive to a wider variety of residents are emerging. The completion of Aire Park and the Sustainable Travel Gateway adjacent to City Square in 2024 will continue to bring more vitality and spending power to Leeds city centre as a place to live for everyone.

In the coming years, we expect more neighbourhoods to emerge that will continue to create differing identities and cater for different lifestyles, making city centre living a more inclusive prospect.


The next development cycle in Leeds will be epitomised by innovation, in how to respond to the global challenge of climate change and economic headwinds, and how to support an innovative and inclusive economy.

Crucial for the future economic ecosystem of Leeds is to support innovative and start-up businesses. The Innovation Arc will begin to do this by bringing together the city’s anchor institutions, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Universities and LCC alongside private sector partners to support a growing and evolving innovation hub to the west of the city centre. The Innovation Arc is the next step in supporting the technology and innovation sectors which are expected to attract talent to the region and stimulate the local economy.

Leeds is growing its reputation as a great place to start a business, helped by workers choosing to leave London for other UK cities and the opportunity and support provided by large employers such as Channel 4 and the education institutions. For example, the success of Nexus at the University of Leeds has been instrumental in driving collaboration and innovation across the city and supporting entrepreneurs.

In November 2023 it was announced that West Yorkshire will receive Investment Zone funding in digital and healthtech, which will accelerate plans for the Leeds Innovation Arc. The first stage of this will be the refurbishment of the Old Medical School by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which will help kickstart the creation of a healthtech innovation hub and start to bear fruit in 2024.

Culture and identity

Inspired by the successes of the Leeds2023 International Year of Culture, the city is expected to feel the benefits of a lasting legacy of culture and diversity, bolstering the vibrancy of Leeds and furthering multi-sector investment, particularly for the visitor economy.

Raising the city’s profile through public investment in major cultural initiatives such as Leeds2023 is critical for the city’s visibility, bringing with it opportunities for new private investment into the city. LCC has also already taken steps to capitalise on cultural momentum from Leeds 2023, through the creation of the Leeds Cultural Investment Programme, approved in June 2023. This programme will provide flexibility to artists and arts organisations across the city and unlock access to investment funds to support the legacy of Leeds2023 and further public benefits in line with the Council’s ‘Best City Ambition’.

We are also expecting to see gains in the visitor economy in 2024, following the announcement of UKREiiF remaining in Leeds for the foreseeable future. This will demonstrate that Leeds can host large scale conferences and boost supporting sectors such as hotels, which will give the city the accommodation capacity to attract other events.

It is essential that Leeds should continue to extend its cultural capital alongside improving the offer across other sectors, to encourage people to build their life, work and stay in the city as part of a holistic ‘Leeds Life’ offer which is attractive to everyone living in Leeds.

Data in detail

A summary of all data across all development sectors can be accessed using the interactive Development map, Development activity and New start charts below, allowing you to explore all development projects, their location and what this means in terms of overall development activity.

New start
Under construction

Scheme number:

Scheme name:





Completion date:


Space available sq ft:


Development pipeline


Volume of new starts

Office volume under construction

The Report

A report that measures the developments taking place across Leeds city centre and its impact. Property types include residential, office, hotel, retail and leisure, student accommodation, education and research facilities, healthcare and transport

Our Crane Survey research area covers Leeds city centre. 

Developers building new schemes or undertaking significant refurbishments exceeding any of the following sizes: office – 10,000 sq. ft.; retail and leisure 10,000 sq. ft.; residential property – 25 units; education, healthcare and research – 10,000 sq. ft.; hotel – 35 rooms.

Data for the Crane Survey was recorded between 1 January 2023 and 1 January 2024.

The local Deloitte Real Estate team has monitored construction activity and planning permissions granted, supplemented by rigorous field research. This research has been verified by industry contacts and in-house research teams.


John Cooper

Partner, Real Assets Advisory – Planning

Simon Bedford

Partner, Real Assets Advisory - Development

Nolan Tucker

Director, Real Estate