Plans to build a new £600 million shopping centre in Leeds will create thousands of jobs in the building engineering industry as one of the of Britain’s biggest high street retailers, John Lewis, has secured a deal to build a 258,000 sq ft anchor store near the development of Eastgate Quarters in Leeds city centre.

The first phase of the development, which is called Harewood, would also create two new shopping streets leading to the Victoria Quarter which will include 30 shops, six restaurants, and a multi-storey car park on the site of Leeds’ former police station.

Work on first phase of the development is expected to start in spring 2014 and it could be open by 2016, if plans submitted to the city council next year are approved.

A low-carbon energy centre for the scheme has been consented which will provide heating, cooling and electricity required by the development, with the opportunity to also support neighbouring homes and businesses.

As a result of the multi-million development, the retail led scheme could generate up to 4,000 jobs in the building engineering sector, providing more employment opportunities for plumbers, electricians and gas engineers.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, welcomed the announcement describing it as excellent news for the city centre and the people from Leeds as a whole.

Mr Wakefield said: “All the parties have been working behind the scenes for some months now to facilitate an agreement which enables work to begin on this important development. So to know that we now have a clear timetable from Hammerson is really exciting.

He added: “Eastgate Quarters is a hugely significant development for the city which will enable our retail sector to compete with other British cities and attract international visitors and investors. It will bring thousands of new visitors to the city as well as creating a significant number of jobs for local people.”

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