The soon-to-be-abandoned offices of two regional daily newspapers could become a top class hotel and conference facility, according to an agent involved in its sale.
HTFP revealed in August that Johnston Press planned to move the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post from their current headquarters on Wellington Street, Leeds, where they have been based since 1970.
The move is now under way with the newspapers moving to new city centre premises at Number 1 Leeds on Whitehall Road.
The current site, which is due to be vacated by the end of this week, has 220,000 sq ft of office space and printing works and is now being marketed for sale by property agent Fox Lloyd Jones.
Paul Fox from the company told TheBusinessDesk.com that the existing offices could be transformed into a landmark development for Leeds involving a hotel and conference centre, although the printing works were expected to be bulldozed.
He said: “I would see the site being mixed-use. There is a possibilty the area that backs onto the river could be used for residential accommodation.
“There’s no reason the existing offices couldn’t be transformed into a hotel and conference facility. A top conference facility is something Leeds doesn’t have. It’s the next on the list. Leeds has an arena on the way but not conference facilities.
“I think the West End are of the city is an area that is going to grow. I think it’s the future of the city and this is a logical extension to the West End. It’s going to take a visionary and creative developer to pull it all together.”
He added other options could involve transforming the existing buildings to create modern offices and adding shops.
The site totals 4.75 acres and the joint agent for the sale is Rapleys.
More than 300 staff from the papers will move to the new office and will be the main tenants in the building, with the move due to be completed by next Monday.
The Wakefield Express’ main base, in Southgate, will be closed as part of the move and some staff transferred to work in Leeds, with its building also now up for sale.
But the company said the news team from the weekly would still be based in Wakefield city centre at a new office at Bull Ring House, where it would move at the end of the year.
Helen Oldham, regional managing director at JP, said: “I am delighted that we have secured high profile, quality, city centre premises for our Leeds and Wakefield businesses. The move signifies a sizeable investment in our people and will provide an environment in which we can take our highly regarded media brands forward positively.”
Johnston Press moved printing of the two Leeds-based titles to its sites at Dinnington and Sunderland in March, leaving the printing press at the site redundant.