The skyline of Leeds city centre has changed hugely over the years and seen some impressive developments. Bridgewater Place became the tallest building in the city when it was topped out in 2005. The mixed use residential and commercial property is 112 metres tall and features 32 storeys. It remains one of the most prominent structures but could have had competition if other projects had been completed.
One of these was a plan to build twin skyscrapers that would have stood 54 and 32 storeys tall respectively. The Lumiere development would have created the tallest building in the UK outside of London at the time but the project encountered difficulties during the financial crisis in 2008. The work that had begun in December 2007 was put on hold the following July and officially cancelled in 2010.
The Lumiere site subsequently changed hands and will now be home to the Central Square project. The £100 million 11 storey mixed use building will feature offices, leisure and retail units, a winter garden and a sky garden. It will be a beautiful addition to Leeds but will not impact the skyline as much as the twin towers that were originally planned.
The Criterion Place development has one of the most interesting histories. The site was originally home to Queens Hall. This started out life as a bus and tram depot but was altered a number of times, transforming it into a venue for exhibitions, markets and live music. The building was finally demolished in 1989 and the site was earmarked as a prime local for redevelopment.
Plans for high profile developments followed after the demolition. The most prominent of these was a design for twin skyscrapers that would have stood 53 and 33 storeys tall respectively. This project was proposed in 2007 but the financial crisis again caused problems and led to the cancellation in July 2008. The site eventually became the home of the new KPMG offices and a second office building is being built on the site.
As you can see, site developments and structural alterations can bring major changes to the skylines of city centres. It is interesting to look at proposals and see which projects successfully reach completion, which encounter issues, and the reasons for both.