Thursday 21st March will see the much-awaited, much-anticipated and much-expected opening of the Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre. For months and months we have been ambushed by the construction works in town, flyers and posters all over the city, and not to mention the rather impressive television advert promoting the shopping centre and implanting wonder and curiosity in our minds. The £350 million retail destination was taken on board by Britain’s biggest landowner company of commercial property, Land Securities, in 2008. Covering over 1,000,000 square feet of floor space, this magnificent shopping centre will house around 120 retail shops, an extensive food court and scattered restaurants, bars and cafes, and lastly the first ever Everyman cinema in the North.
British fashion designer, Henry Holland, has been announced to curate the grand opening of Leeds Trinity Centre with a “show-stopping ceremony celebrating the best of British fashion”. He will be at the centre of all the excitement as he opens the three-storey retail spot that is based in the heart of Leeds City Centre. Trinity Leeds Centre Director, David Laycock, has revealed that street performers on Briggate and Commercial Street will be there to entertain the gathering crowds from much earlier in the day to get the festivities started.
Trinity Leeds will see the introduction of many mainstream retailers such as Hollister, Mango and Fossil for the first time in this city. For those that will be working up a sweat shopping, you can then enjoy the regular eateries of Nando’s and fast food chains such as McDonald’s, or instead go for more upmarket restaurants and cafes such as The Alchemist. Whatever your taste, there is something for everyone (literally!) whether it be shopping taste or food taste. The special attraction, however, to this new and grand shopping centre is not the variety of shops and restaurants, but the opening of the first northern Everyman cinema in April. Differing from the regular cinema experience, Everyman offers you the opportunity to watch your movie in stylish, comfy sofas; you can even order yourself a glass of wine! As well as showing blockbuster movie hits, it also shows Art House and classic films; once again proving that there is something for all of us.
The 18th century Holy Trinity Church was inspiration for the name of Trinity Centre that surrounds the church on two sides. The shopping centre itself has 8 entrances and is encompassed by the 4 major streets of the city centre. However, competing commercial property company known as Hammerson have plans for another new 400,000 square feet mall, Eastgate Quarters. This project is set to cost £120 million and is planned to open in 2014. White Rose, a shopping mall situated slightly more on the outskirts of the city, is also intending on expanding. With all these new retail developments being planned and opened in and around Leeds, we have to ask ourselves, is this really necessary?
In shopping terms, when we think of Manchester we think of Trafford Centre, Sheffield we think of Meadowhall, London has Westfield among others, so would that then make Trinity Centre the one that puts Leeds on the retail map? Having just moved to Leeds last year, I was impressed by the many arcades with shops that I not only hadn’t heard of, but that were interesting and quirky. Leeds is known for its outdoor city centre that has high street retail shops amongst old, traditional buildings, something unique and characteristic to the city. I can’t help but think if putting up this impressive, state-of-the-art, new shopping centre is going to cause these smaller, local businesses to suffer.
It also has to be mentioned that Trinity Centre will not be the first indoor shopping space in Leeds. With the Merrion Centre and St John’s Centre within walking distance from each other, will Leeds then become a city of centres all providing us with the same shops? Many of the new shops to be launched in Trinity Centre are already being showcased on the high street. A 107,000 square foot Primark will be included in the launch of many new spaces within the shopping centre, but what about Primark on The Headrow? Will Leeds become overpopulated with mainstream, consumerism chains such as this one? Will it lose its authenticity?
I have to say that despite the negative arguments that Trinity Shopping Centre is being faced with, ultimately I am excited by this new venture (being a secret shopaholic myself) and I think it will not only be beneficial to us living in the city, but it will also help bring in other people from around the UK. With this said I think that the problem then lies with the high street and surrounding older shopping centres. For now, though, I am going to await the grand opening and I hope that you all enjoy it too!