Howells Architects designed McLaren's Wellington Square project. Credit: via FTI Consulting

Leeds approves McLaren skyscraper, office blocks

Wellington Square will deliver 464 build-to-rent flats and 364,000 sq ft of workspace in the city’s West End after receiving a planning nod from city councillors on Thursday.

McLaren Property and sister company McLaren Living have teamed up for the mixed-use development on three acres off Lisbon Street. The project comprises three buildings: a 46-storey residential skyscraper and two office blocks – one 15 storeys in height and the other 16.

The skyscraper would comprise 249 one-bedroom flats, 160 two-bedroom ones, and 47 three-bed apartments. Designed by Howells Architects, it also includes 10,000 sq ft of shared amenity spaces comprising a fitness and wellbeing area, groundfloor lounge, and parcel room. The final amenity space – a sky lounge boasting panoramic views of the city – is the clear standout.

Matthew Biddle, managing director at McLaren Living, said: “The hexagonal tower will be a new landmark on the Leeds skyline with striking architecture, delivering new homes with wonderful views across Leeds with access to a wide range of amenities on site including an outstanding sky lounge on the 45th floor set within high-quality public realm.”

That public realm includes the planting of 61 trees on the site.

While the residential building would be on the northern portion of the site, the office blocks would sit on the southern. They would have cycle rooms and gyms in their basements, with lower levels suitable to hold a café, coworking space, medical services, or a restaurant. Both office buildings have been designed to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating and a NABERS score of six stars.

Promoting active travel, there would be a dedicated cycle entrance for the office complex from the city’s cycle highway. In addition to cycle storage spaces, there would be a cycle repair station and shower facilities.

The taller of the two offices would offer 276,200 sq ft of space, while the shorter would have 260,900 sq ft. Between the two, and taking out the amenity and plant spaces, the office blocks would introduce 364,000 sq ft of workspace to the city capable of accommodating up to 3,500 new jobs, according to McLaren.

Tom Gilman, who had been leading on the scheme as regional managing director at McLaren Property, described the project as “integral” to the creation of a new quarter in Leeds’s West End.

Gilman, who is now managing director at McLaren Regeneration, added: “The commercial space will set a new benchmark for accommodation across the North of England and will be a landmark for the city.

“Leeds is already attracting occupiers across all sectors and our development will provide market leading ESG credentials and aspirational workspaces to help them attract and keep the best talent,” he concluded.

In addition to Howells Architects, the project team included ID Planning, Project Four Safety, Meinhardt, Fore Consulting, Reform, Atelier 10, Crookes Walker, Cundall, JCA, FD Global, Elementa, Planit, and Gardiner & Theobald.

You can learn more about Wellington Square by searching application reference number 23/00608/FU on Leeds City Council’s planning portal.

Wellington Square is just one of several transformative projects under the McLaren umbrella. This pipeline of work includes the £2.5bn York Central regeneration – a high-profile scheme that will see McLaren working alongside Arlington, England, the City of York Council, Network Rail, and the National Railway Museum to deliver 1m sq ft of offices and up to 2,500 homes.

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