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Leeds masterplan developer hopes to meet interested architects at MIPIM

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The developer behind the massive Terry Farrell-led Eastgate proposals in Leeds city centre has put out an extraordinary call for architects - with the promise of work on its £700 million flagship project.

Hammerson UK Properties has taken the unusual step of openly inviting designers to talk to its development team at next week's international property fair MIPIM in an attempt to attract architects keen to collaborate on the huge retail scheme.

Having already secured outline planning for the new Eastgate & Harewood Urban Quarter, the developer now wants to appoint a 'vibrant mix' of practices capable of carrying the masterplan forward.

John Letherland, the head of Farrell's urban-design team, admits the approach is unusual but was all 'part of the excitement' of the project.

He said: 'I can't think of an occasion where a developer has been quite so open.

'There is an opportunity here for the larger practices to work on some of the statement buildings but also for smaller firms to get involved.

'We are not closed to working with architects from outside the UK either.'

However he added: 'But this is not about assembling some sort of architectural zoo, it's about creating a real piece of the city.

'We want to find practices that show a real commitment to the concept and possess that inner spirit of collaboration.'

Terry Farrell and the Hammerson team will officially launch the 'vision' at the Leeds Stand (14:16) at MIPIM at 11am on Thursday, 15 March.

by Richard Waite

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