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Scott Brownrigg to take on replacement for Ian Simpson's Kissing Towers

Scott Brownrigg is to design a headquarters for KPMG on a central Leeds city site formerly earmarked for Ian Simpson Architects’ so-called Kissing Towers

Professional services firm KPMG entered a nine-month exclusivity period with the council at the end of last year to explore options for the council-owned Sovereign Street plot.

Sovereign Leeds has since joined the project as developer and has appointed Scott Brownrigg to design the building - one of three new structures planned for the 1.16ha area south of Leeds City station (see below) which is currently being used as a car park. Work is at an early stage but preliminary designs have already been drawn up by the practice.

The firm’s proposals will replace those drawn up by Ian Simpson Architects which were pulled from the project by the city council. Simpson’s Criterion Place proposals featured two ‘kissing towers’ respectively 47 and 29 storeys high (pictured). But the £115million project fell foul of the property slump and was scrapped by the council in 2008 after it was judged economically unviable (AJ 21.07.08).  

Leeds City Council recently published a planning statement which sets out the potential for a 15-storey tower on the plot. The document calls for a ‘high quality, innovative design’.

Previous story (AJ 25.02.11)

Replacement plans for Ian Simpson’s Kissing Towers emerge

Three buildings could be built on a central Leeds city site formerly earmarked for Ian Simpson Architects’ so-called Kissing Towers, the local authority has said

Leeds City Council has published plans (see attached) for a major redevelopment on the Sovereign Street plot - the proposed site for Simpson’s ditched Criterion Place competition-winning scheme which featured a 47-storey skyscraper and a 29-storey neighbour (AJ 21.07.08).

Plans for two £115 million towers were scrapped in 2008 after Leeds City Council’s executive board ruled the project proposed by Simons Developments was not commercially viable.

Built around a new public space, one of the proposed new buildings could be up to 15 storeys high.

In recent years the land has been used as a council car park, following the demolition of Queens Hall in 1989.

The council wants the redevelopment to link the city centre to a proposed new park on the south bank of the River Aire, connect to the nearby Granary Wharf development and open up two railway arches.

In December, it emerged that KPMG and Leeds City Council had entered into a nine-month agreement with a view to creating a new headquarters for the company on the site.

The council says it is looking for a mix of uses at the site that could include hotels, restaurants, offices, residential and retail.

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