Channel 4 is understood to have made the former Majestic nightclub in Leeds its preferred destination for its new ‘national headquarters’
The 1921 Grade-II listed former cinema and dance hall with a 21m-wide domed roof overlooking City Square is currently being overhauled by DLA Design and converted into 6,100m² of offices, following a major blaze nearly five years ago.
The building had been empty since 2006 and the first phase of a long-awaited regeneration project to convert the city-centre landmark into a new ‘leisure destination’ had already completed when it was targeted by arsonists in 2014.
That scheme had been overseen by DLG Architects on behalf of developer Rushbond, which had bought the building in 2010.
Rushbond returned with a new commercial-led design, overseen by DLA Design, which began on site in 2017 and is due to finish this summer.
Channel 4 picked Leeds for its new home in October 2018 over rival bids from Manchester and Birmingham. Birmingham had been considered the favourite, due to its proximity to London.
The publicly owned, commercially funded broadcaster is expected to move 40 per cent of its 800 staff from the capital to Leeds, as well as creating two smaller creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said at the time: ‘Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.
‘Locating our national HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the north of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the north-east and east of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.’
The AJ understands the Majestic deal has yet to be finalised but, if completed, could pave the way for the first staff to move to Leeds in November this year.
Channel 4 and Rushbond has been contacted for comment.