By Leanne Simmons
WITHIN THE first five days of opening, the new £165 million Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds, has attracted more than 210,000 visitors.
According to Leeds City Council, the Victoria Gate opening means that Leeds jumps up to the third largest shopping destination in the UK outside London.
James Bailey, Victoria Gate’s general manager, said: “As the city’s heritage suggests, Leeds has a huge appetite for retail and we are excited to launch Victoria Gate to build on the premium offer shoppers already enjoy in Victoria Quarter.
“The brand new shopping arcade is a welcome addition to Leeds, bringing London brands to the area for the first time, helping to propel the city into the top spot to shop in the North.”
The opening brings the first John Lewis to the city with four floors of designer brands, and other high end retailers such as Russell & Bromley’s luxury handbags and shoes; Aspinal of London’s leather goods; clothing brand, Hackett , and Tommy Hilfiger.
Remie Worrall, 31, founder of Remie’s Luxury Blog, about luxury lifestyle, travel, health and beauty said: “Leeds has now stepped up its retail offering in terms of luxury brands boasting many premium fashion retailers, this impressive shopping space puts Leeds on the map as a luxury retail powerhouse.”
Victoria Gate is part of the Victoria shopping district across Leeds, which includes Leeds’ Victoria Quarter arcades that already has designer brands, adding to the Leeds arcade history.
The two street arcade linking Victoria Gate to John Lewis covers 255,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space.
A spokesman for Hammerson, the company which designed the centre, said in a statement: “Together with Victoria Quarter, the new Victoria Leeds estate will create an indulgent retail and leisure destination for the North.”
The opening of Victoria Gate generated over 1,000 building jobs, and more than 1,000 retail jobs within the shops and restaurants, bringing Eastgate and Vicar Lane together.
They now have plans for early 2017, which includes a super casino with big screens, 24 games tables, 140 slot machines, 80 electronic gaming terminals and two bars covering 50,000 sq ft which is the only casino like it in the north.