Thorpe Park Leeds’ first multi-storey active travel hub takes shape

A major construction project, linked to the largest single out-of-town office deal ever recorded in West Yorkshire, is taking shape.

GMI Construction is the main contractor for Scarborough Group International’s (SGI) £9.2 million five-level multi-storey active travel hub at Thorpe Park, Leeds. It is the second major build project for GMI on the site this year with a new £52 million, 133,118 sq. ft, pre-let Grade A office building due to complete by the Autumn.

SGI is progressing phase two development at Thorpe Park Leeds to create the largest out of town mixed use destination in the north of England. Strategically located at Junction 46 of the M1, it is already an established business destination with more than 900,000 sq. ft of office space, a hotel and amenity already built.

Over the last five years SGI has added a 350,000 sq. ft retail and leisure park, known as The Springs, two Grade A office buildings and critical new infrastructure around the site.

Designed by architects, Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher (CJCT) the new 125,495 sq. ft, 442-space active travel hub is situated in the heart of the emerging phase two masterplan and will act as a central gateway for future buildings. In a departure from the traditional business park format, it is designed to replicate the typical grid formation seen in city centres, consolidating car parking in a multi-storey structure to create more efficient building plots and allowing more space to create public realm and green spaces.

Of the 442 parking spaces, 10% will support EV (electric vehicle) charging, with 5% being accessible to disabled users. Part of the ground floor is allocated for workspace, retail or leisure with units facing onto Thorpe Park Approach, which will ultimately become a significant pedestrian thoroughfare.

Adam Varley, Development Director at SGI, said: “The construction of the new active travel hub will support better urban mobility and provide a platform for the continued expansion of Thorpe Park Leeds. Our new holistic and strategic approach to parking at the site seeks to free-up valuable public space and generally make the local environment more engaging and attractive for visitors from the public along with the people that work across Thorpe Park Leeds.

“Of course, the travel hub incorporates electric car charging and bicycle storage provisions to encourage more sustainable travel and we continue to offer free, expert transport planning consultation to all occupiers at Thorpe Park Leeds.

“We are also now looking forward to the opening of the dedicated new railway station with park and ride facilities, which will connect Thorpe Park to Leeds city centre in less than 10 minutes and integrate directly with Connecting Leeds’ ambitious towards a new sustainable transport strategy.”

The project is due for completion in the Autumn to coincide with the office development opposite, and its construction has involved: 800 tonnes of steel; 1,550 precast planks; 30,000 linear metres of cable, and 2,438 cubic metres of concrete.

GMI Construction Group, which is celebrating 35 years in business this has been the main contractor for SGI on all phase two development across Thorpe Park Leeds

Andrew Hurcomb, GMI Construction’s Group’s Divisional Managing Director, said: “This project further consolidates our established and long-standing association with SGI, which included being the principal contractor on the nearby office complex, which has made its mark as West Yorkshire’s largest ever out-of-town deal of its kind.

“We are pleased to report that the development of this multi-storey active travel hub progressing well despite the challenges that the pandemic and raw material supply pressures, caused by international conflict, have created.

“It has the potential to help accommodate Thorpe Park Leeds’ current and on-going parking needs with future-proofing being built-in as well as facilities to a meet the growing demand for more sustainable and environmentally- friendly forms of transport.”

Dominick Dickinson, Senior Site Manager, said: “The car park will form an integral part of the support infrastructure for the new phases of development that are taking shape at Thorpe Park Leeds.

“It will make it easier and more convenient to visit and work at Thorpe Park, where it will be a major asset by providing a modern, safe and well-lit environment to visitors and workers alike.”