Last updated on June 10th, 2013 | Written By Jon Howe
Trinity breathes new life into Leeds
If anyone thought Leeds was losing its’ sparkle as a draw for the region’s most eager and impressionable shoppers, that belief is about to be emphatically quashed with the March 21st opening of Trinity Leeds. Hailed as the ‘next generation’ of shopping centres, the £350m development spans one million square feet of retail space and is described as an open-shopping scheme. Most pertinently, Trinity has re-opened existing footpaths and walkways, whilst re-generating a forgotten and almost derelict area of the city centre, to offer a new retail and leisure experience right in the heart of Leeds.
Eye catching roof design and open feel
With eight street entrances and three floors, Trinity, which takes its’ name from the Trinity Church on Boar Lane, is one third re-developed and two thirds new-build. The concept is based on maintaining an open and functional ‘High Street’ feel, rather than the traditional and sometimes suffocating ‘bubble’ that many shopping centres tend to create. The eye-catching, curved roof design links the development, but is purely to keep out the rain, and in essence Trinity is merely an extension to the bustling streets that it borders.
The location of Trinity is such that the development cannot fail to benefit from the other attractions of Leeds city centre. Briggate is one of the top ten busiest streets in the UK, whilst the other two streets that Trinity is housed between, Commercial Street and Albion Street, are each within the top twenty UK streets for pedestrian foot-flow. Add to that the strong network of transport links via the Leeds rail station literally yards away and the 3,500 car parking spaces right on the development’s doorstep, and it all adds up to an enticing recipe for the many international brands that have been suitably charmed by Trinity’s appeal.
46 new brands to arrive in Leeds
Of the 120 retail outlets in the centre, 46 of the tenants will be new to Leeds, and a number of them, including Victoria’s Secret and US-fashion chain Hollister, will be opening their first shops outside of London. Other names already committed to the centre include Superdry, Armani, Mamas & Papas, Internacionale, Mango, Bose, Urban Outfitters, Coast and Lego.
Amongst the existing stores, BHS and Marks & Spencers (M&S) are the most prominent to have taken the opportunity to expand. M&S have expanded their store by 20% and are using Trinity to open a new late-night café concept. Primark are also moving into a vast three-storey unit which has been adapted from the existing buildings next to BHS. More traditional names will also be opening what they claim to be flagship stores outside of London such as Top Shop, Top Man, H&M, Next and River Island.
However, the Trinity management team are at pains to stress that the development is far from just a new shopping outlet; they have created a whole new experience. Trinity has handed 21% of its’ retail space, that’s 36 units so far, to leisure outlets, and this is where the quality and exclusivity will set Trinity apart. Whilst you would expect big names such as Nando’s, TGI Friday, Café Rouge, Wagamama’s and Yo Sushi to take up their places, Carluccio’s and Cielo Blanco will be opening signature restaurants and the D&D London restaurant chain will also be adding two rooftop eateries to their existing acclaimed outlets in London, Paris, New York, Copenhagen and Tokyo. In addition, the exhilarating Cocktail bar The Alchemist, will be bringing its’ successful formula from Manchester to add yet more choice to Leeds’ energetic nightlife.
Trinity Kitchen full of independent food traders
One unique feature of Trinity will not quite be ready for the March opening, but it promises to be worth the wait. Trinity Kitchen is much more than the traditional food court found in most shopping centres. This has been curated by Richard Johnson, acclaimed food critic from the Times, and will include five pop-up food traders delivering culinary trends that are emerging in major international food capitals. Also, seven ‘pods’ will host inter-changing food traders from across the UK who will get the chance to offer new and exciting food choices. Trinity Kitchen will work on a streetfood concept that plans to set a new benchmark for casual but quality dining. It will open in October 2013 and will bring new life to the windows above the existing Boots store on Commercial Street, with the vendors opening out in view of the vast glass frontage.
Trinity Leeds Photos
Click on any of the images to view the slideshow.
For fantastic photos of what Trinity Leeds looks like now, have a look at Adrian Wilson’s blog post.
Digitally enhanced shopping experience
Another claim of the Trinity management is that the development promises to be the most digitally-enhanced shopping centre in the UK. Video walls dominate the centre, although they are not unique to Trinity. What are, however, are the interactive screens that act like an Xbox Kinect system. These will take photos of passers-by to then immediately animate in a series of themes using gesture-recognition, which are sure to fascinate children and doubtless many adults too. Free Wi-Fi, 3G and a soon-to-be implemented 4G service will all come in handy when using the Trinity shopping app, which will build up a personalised profile and link with Google to enhance your shopping experience. On hand, also, will be various assistants with internet-connected iPads.
Boutique Everyman cinema
The leisure side of Trinity is an aspect that the management are keen to promote as something that makes the development unique. A four screen ‘boutique’ cinema will open in April offering 400 seats run by the Everyman brand. This will be the first of the innovative company’s ventures outside London, and whilst they will show mainstream films in addition to classics and cult films, the experience is very different to that in your local multi-screen cinema. Each auditorium will be served by its’ own bar, so you can watch a film in cosy seats and order a glass of wine or beer without missing any of the film.
Supporting local artists
Elsewhere, Trinity is embracing the arts by spending £500,000 on commissioning 17 artists to deliver public instalments in and around the centre. Sculptor Andy Scott is installing a mystery 14 metre-high focal point in the middle of the centre, and is also mounting an 8 metre-high sculpture in the middle of Briggate, which will celebrate the history of Leeds’ textile industry. Trinity are also working with Leeds City Council to promote the Streetscene venture, which aims to copy the vibrancy and unpredictability of London’s Convent Garden. There will always be a sense of something happening, as live street performers will be adding to the stimulating surroundings from permanent stages, set up to create non-stop atmosphere and a creative ambience.
Facts about Trinity centre
The construction of the Trinity centre is currently employing approximately 1,000 people, as the finishing touches are carried out to the building and the many units are fitted out. The building’s main feature is the domed glass roof that covers the ‘High Street’ from the elements but is only fixed in a few select points, creating the natural airy feel that the architects wanted. The roof is made up of 2,000 glass panels and embedded in the roof structure are 918 low energy LED bulbs, which are individually-controllable and adaptable within 40 different programmable colour schemes. In essence, however, the low-energy bulbs create the only energy consumption of the site as, to maintain the High Street feel, there is no heating or air conditioning in the centre other than in the retail units themselves.
As the only major retail scheme launching in the UK this year, Trinity Leeds is truly leading the field in creating a new experience. With its’ open promotion of the city of Leeds through the video wall advertising of Arena, theatre and various other events, Trinity is proud to be in the centre of Leeds, both literally and commercially. With many locations within the construction allowing a new visual perspective of the city, there is no doubt that Trinity Leeds bangs the drum for what the city does best.
Trinity Leeds will open on March 21st 2013, shops opening 8am-9pm Monday-Saturday, and 11am-5pm Sundays.
Map: Trinity Leeds