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Iconic Leeds Building Goes On Sale From £1
If you’ve been looking for a new commercial premises to restore to former glory with the help of industrial scaffolding services, the bargain of a lifetime may have just presented itself in Leeds.
Temple Works may have been a former flax mill, but it has been described more like ‘a stately home for a Pharoah’ according to The Guardian, however, now, it’s gone on sale at auction with no reserve, meaning that bidding will start from just £1.
Currently owned by the same owners as The Telegraph, they’re being accused of ‘washing their hands’ of the building, after leaving it neglected for over 10 years, despite being an important and unique building in the city.
It was listed in the Victorian Society’s 10 most endangered buildings in 2011, after a partial collapse occurred inside in 2008.
It was built in 1836, based on the Temple of Horus, located in Edfu on the banks of the River Nile. A strange choice for a street in the centre of Leeds perhaps, but the design reflected the founder of Leeds’ flax industry’s love of Egyptology. Flax had been important to the ancient Egyptian’s so in actual fact, the strange design made sense to many.
The large temple columns and hieroglyphic adorned coving was designed by Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi and inside there is over 10,000 square metres of warehouse floor.
The warehouse was last used by a commercial company in 2004, for a now defunct mail-order company, however, since that time, a local enterprise, Temple.Works.Leeds had set up shop in the almost derelict space, holding cultural events and creating a hub in the space for the local community. They had hoped to turn the space into a Yorkshire rival to the Tate Modern, however, the projected costs of renovation, almost £20 million, put off many potential buyers.
Back in 2016, the project came to an end after a local developer was outbid by luxury fashion brand Burberry – a company which itself has strong historical ties to the area. However, thanks to Brexit, the deal never progressed, and earlier this year, Burberry pulled the plug on their dream of a warehouse showroom in this iconic building.
Now, the building is up for auction, a move which some heritage campaigners worry will encourage buyers to invest without knowing the true cost of the renovations. The roof of the warehouse floor is held up just by rotting pipes, supporting the weight of beautiful domed skylights which provide the space with natural light.
Martin Hamilton, the director of Leeds Civic Trust shared his concerns: “There is now a real risk that a naive investor will purchase the building without the resources to spend on refurbishment – possibly upwards of £20m, leading to more years of neglect, planning and legal wrangles and quite possibly the final nail in the coffin for this building.
With the HS2 railway station in Leeds to be located a short walk away by 2033, it still proves a fantastic investment for a buyer with deep enough pockets – and when you need the best industrial scaffolding to get the project underway, don’t forget where you heard about this bargain of a lifetime!