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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 046 - Attracting creative businesses

046 - Holbeck Urban Village, Leeds

In collaboration with public sector partners, Igloo Regeneration invests in well-designed, resource-efficient, mixed-use, creative neighbourhoods on the edge of the top 20 UK city centres. At Holbeck Urban Village, Igloo has converted a semi-derelict red light district on the edge of Leeds city centre into a new business and residential community, focused on creative and digital media.

Completed in December 2004, Phase 1 comprises studio, oneand two-bedroom homes, and restaurant/bar facilities integrated with the award-winning £5 million Round Foundry Media Centre. This scheme resulted from a conversion of a listed building to create high specification serviced office space tailored for the creative and digital Industry (CDI) sector. It has successfully attracted high profile national companies in this key growth sector as well as helping to create many new businesses.

Igloo believes that the quality of the environment created within the urban village has enabled the development to become the location of choice for creative industries. Having a cluster of similar industries in an interactive location has helped ensure that the development is fully let, and has been successful in helping new enterprises evolve.

Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Igloo Regeneration explains the company’s philosophy ‘If we developed ‘contractor design’ (as we call it), we would just be creating a poor building in an off-centre location, and we could only let it to an average tenant. Instead we commission and deliver great design to attract dynamic, design-led independent creative business occupiers. The Round Foundry in Holbeck Urban Village is a good example of a building which we own and where we are funding developers CTP St. James with the support of Yorkshire Forward and Leeds City Council to create a dynamic and successful new neighbourhood.’ ‘Creative industries are becoming an engine of economic growth,’ Brown says. ‘It’s important to use design skills to deliver neighbourhoods that can support their growth and compete with similar locations around the world.’

Following the success of the Round Foundry scheme, Yorkshire Forward is developing ‘grow on’ space for the CDI sector at the adjacent Tower Works site. The first phase of the development consists of 18,000 sq.ft of managed workspace within restored listed buildings on the site. The completed scheme will be an exemplar mixed-use development setting the standards for the region in design, sustainability and place making.

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UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value 

Igloo Regeneration invested in design to attract independent, design-led, creative business occupiers at the Round Foundry, Holbeck Urban Village.Images (image bank)