Trinity Leeds, Land Securities £378 million new Leeds shopping centre opened last Thursday, the only new major shopping centre due to open this year in the UK, with 130,000 people coming through the doors to check it out. It is expected to attract 23 million people a year, so that is double a normal day's traffic.
Named after the adjacent Holy Trinity church, the centre has a huge domed glass roof which covers three shopping streets and has created a vast covered public space, which presently accommodates a public art exhibition, with work by 17 local and international artists. The space is a valuable resource for the Leeds cultural programme, and helps the centre become a "destination".
The centre houses 120 stores and 20 restaurants, with tenants including Apple, Superdry, Mango and D&D restaurants, and features Interactive screens operated by gesture recognition, LED advertising screens, Google product search and free wi-fi. The centre has also launched a mobile app so that shoppers can search for items available at the site.
On the day over 70 stores were open, with many still being fitted out and the centre was 90% let, with a further 5% in solicitors hands, which testifies to the power of destination shopping at a time when Local Data Company has reported that an overall average of 15.6% of shops are vacant. Next month the Everyman cinema will open, the first in the north, featuring sofas as seating.
It is expected that this development will draw some support away from the Trafford Centre in Manchester and will blight the chances of Sheffield and Bradford in gaining completion of their shopping centre plans.
Land Securities had put work on the centre on hold in 2008, but 16 months later decided to press ahead. Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said that the opening of the development “speaks volumes” for the confidence that investors have in the city.
Wakefield added: “Trinity Leeds brings a very welcome and timely jobs boost, creating opportunities for businesses and local people to gain skills and employment and much-valued apprenticeship opportunities for our young people.
“Alongside our own Arena project, which opens in July, this investment is transforming the city centre, strengthening the economy and underlining how Leeds is lifting the Northern economy out of recession”.