Leeds has beaten off competition from Birmingham and Manchester to be named as the new national headquarters for Channel 4.
The broadcaster will also open ‘creative hubs’ in Bristol and Glasgow, and the move to Leeds has been hailed as “the best news” by the city council’s chief executive Tom Riordan.
Channel 4 had been under pressure from the government to move much of its work out from London to reflect life beyond the capital.
It is not known where the new HQ will be located, but the Yorkshire Evening Post has speculated that South Bank, Quarry Hill, the former Majestic night club, Wellington Place or Kirkstall Forge are all in the running.
An important hub in creative and digital
The city is already seen as a key digital hub and hosts major operations for organisations as diverse as Sky Gaming and NHS Digital.
The move to Leeds by a national broadcaster has precedents, with the BBC moving large parts of its work including sport and Radio 5 live to Media City in Salford in 2011. Around 300 Channel 4 staff will be relocated to Leeds from London.
“Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region,” said the Channel 4 chief executive, Alex Mahon.
New developments already under way
South Bank in Holbeck, south of the city centre, was earmarked for a major facelift earlier in 2018. The plans included up to 750 new homes, a new 40-storey skyscraper plus retail and office space. As many as 10,000 people could live and work in the new area.
The local economy received a further boost in the summer when it was announced that a service depot for the new high speed rail link HS2 will be built near junction 45 of the M1 close to the city.
Knight Franks’ Regional Cities Report for 2017 showed that Leeds had set records in office take-up, commercial property letting and office rents rising to £30 per square foot for the first time. All in all, it’s an exciting and promising period for Leeds.