Leeds thinks big with 520ft glass skyscraper

A GLASS skyscraper which will be the tallest building in the North East of England is set to transform the skyline of Leeds.

The tower, which will be at least 516ft tall and will cost £200m, is said to be the most ambitious project yet in Leeds and will include "prime pads" designed for wealthy pensioners wanting to live in the city centre.The as-yet-unnamed project is being developed jointly by Yorkshire-based residential developer KW Linfoot and Scarborough Development Group, which is owned by Sheffield United FC chairman Kevin McCabe.It will be built on land between Wellington Street and Whitehall Road next to the redeveloped former Royal Mail building as part of a regeneration zone called West Point.Space has been made available for a health centre – the first in the city centre – and dentist within the 51-storey building which would include offices and 650 luxury apartments as well as shops, cafes and restaurants.A similar 26-storey glass tower 295 ft in height would be built next door to it containing 100 serviced apartments and around 100,000 sq ft of office space.The two would be linked by a central piazza and gardens.The building would be taller than Bridgewater Place, the 30-storey project being built on Water Lane in Leeds and also taller than Criterion Place, a planned twin glass towers development on Sovereign Street.The proposals, which were recently presented to Leeds City Council's City Centre Planning Panel, have been met with enthusiasm and the developers are to apply for detailed planning permission before the end of this year.If the building gets the go-ahead from the city council construction could begin as early as next summer with completion anticipated in 2009.Kevin Linfoot, founder of KW Linfoot, said the project "would be the pinnacle of my career"."It will be an iconic building for Leeds which will be the way forward. It's the top of my career to do something like this, I'll never do anything this big again." Mr Linfoot said he has spent 18 months developing the project, looking at skyscrapers in cities such as New York and Miami.

"We had to create models of the building and the others around it so they could be tested for the reflection of the sun off the glass and test the design in a special wind tunnel in New York because when the wind hits the top of the building, by the time it reaches the bottom it would be travelling at 120 mph – that would knock pedestrians off their feet!"

Richard Dean, development director for K W Linfoot, said: "We are delighted to have received such a positive response from the panel. Our design approach has very much focused on providing a remarkable landmark that the city and its residents can be proud of." He added: "A unique new element that we are proposing to incorporate is a series of 'prime pads' that will provide bespoke homes for the 50-plus age market."
Mr Dean said the developers would work closely with with Leeds City Council Planning, the civic architect, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and English Heritage to ensure that the scheme maintained the values and qualities fundamental to the city's prosperity.

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