Leeds is poised for a significant urban transformation as plans for the redevelopment of a local shopping centre have been officially submitted. The Core Shopping Centre on The Headrow, previously known as the Headrow Shopping Centre, is the focus of this ambitious project.

The proposal, put forth by AFAS The Core Ltd and Fusion Global Management LLP, envisions a mixed-use development that seamlessly blends commercial units with student accommodation. This comes at a time when several units in the shopping centre remain vacant, and other businesses have indicated plans to vacate upon lease expiration.

The redevelopment blueprint includes the demolition of the existing shopping centre to make way for three new structures. The tallest of these buildings is slated to rise to nine storeys. Named the ‘Garnet Exchange’, the development will feature approximately 36,500 sq ft of commercial space on the ground floor. This space will accommodate a diverse range of businesses, from retail outlets to cafes, restaurants, bars, and even community facilities.

The upper floors of the development are dedicated to student accommodation, offering a total of 807 bedrooms complemented by communal areas. This initiative aims to alleviate the demand for private housing for students, providing them with dedicated, modern living spaces.

A notable aspect of the proposal is its commitment to enhancing the public realm. Despite the reduction in retail floor space, the development promises to invigorate the area with new streets, active frontages, and improved public spaces.

The project has already been presented to the council’s City Plans Panel in May 2023, receiving a generally positive response, although some concerns were raised regarding servicing logistics.

With the Garnet Exchange, Leeds is set to witness a blend of commercial vibrancy and residential convenience, marking a new chapter in the city’s urban development journey.