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Could Toronto Square require partial demolition?

5403 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Suburban Knight

BBC Leeds article going into further detail about why Toronto Square building on Infirmary Street could require partial demolition.

Floor removal ruling in Leeds office block light row

Toronto Square, Leeds A judge has ordered the removal of the top two floors of the seven-storey office block

A judge has ruled that part of a Leeds city centre office block should be pulled down after another property owner claimed it blocked out his light.

Developer Highcross, which owns Toronto Square, has been told about one third of the top two floors of the building must be removed.

The firm took court action because of a dispute with Marcus Heaney, who owns a nearby property on Infirmary Street.

Highcross said it had applied to appeal against the decision.

The ruling means that the parts of the new sixth and seventh floors which interfere with the neighbouring property's light must be removed.

Highcross has estimated that the cost of the work to demolish the offending office space would be between £1m and £2.5m.
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“Start Quote

They need to resolve all potential claims before actually starting work, otherwise their prize development may end up being ripped down”

End Quote Matthew Baker Pinsent Masons

The dispute started after the developer was granted planning permission by Leeds City Council in March 2007 to build an extension to the then five-storey Toronto Square building.

Work on the additional two floors began in October 2008, and the building was completed in July 2009.

The decision was made by a judge at Leeds District Registry earlier this month.

He granted an injunction against Highcross, which currently lets out the seventh floor office space of its building to another company.

Mr Heaney claims the top two floors of Toronto Square are blocking out light to his property, the listed former Yorkshire Penny Bank building.

Matthew Baker, a member of his legal team at Pinsent Masons LLP, said: "Developers finally need to realise that they cannot just assume that rights of lights claims can be paid off prior to, or in the course of, a trial.

"Instead they need to resolve all potential claims before actually starting work, otherwise their prize development may end up being ripped down."

A Highcross spokesman said: "We have currently lodged our application to seek leave to appeal the judgement."
It would be a shame imo if Toronto Square had to be partially demolished as a result of this judge order. Did the finished building deviate significantly from the original planning application and if it didn't then wouldn't there be no issue with the Toronto Square building as it is.

As for the former Yorkshire Penny Bank HQ building how often is that Aspire conferencing space in use at the old banking hall as I have never seen it in use in all of the times I passed it whilst in Leeds (would have thought it could have made a very nice bar or restaurant).

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I think it would be disgusting to demolish the top of this building because the whole look of it would be ruined. And you will always get nobs that moan about anything "sadly we ALL know a few".
I think demolishing 2 storeys off of a building is going too far. The council should have acted before the build. What a waste of money £1 million + to demolish it. Although I like the style of the old Yorkshire penny bank hq, this is lunatic judgement.
It won't happen. I met with the developers of another new city centre office scheme last week- this sort of thing happens regularly. There'll just be a large payoff.
Surely your right to object to any potential lack of light should be made during the planning stages not after the building has been extended or being built. This case is ridiculous and common sense needs to prevail.
Surely your right to object to any potential lack of light should be made during the planning stages not after the building has been extended or being built. This case is ridiculous and common sense needs to prevail.
Unfortunately this is something that many people lack. However in this case I think it’ll be ok.
this is still ongoing...

Briggsy's Property Blog: Sensible outcome needed for 'right of light' case
23rd March 2011
By Ian Briggs - Deputy Editor, Yorkshire

Toronto Square, Leeds
EVERYBODY loves a fall-out. Well, those not directly involved usually do.

So it's perhaps unsurprising that one of the best read stories on so far this week has been the one about the ongoing spat between developer Highcross and businessman Marcus Heaney.

Highcross is appealing against a court's decision to pull down part of its Toronto Square office building in Leeds city centre.

The appeal hearing is set to take place next week, understands.

The court order, which was made last September, found for Mr Heaney, the owner of the neighbouring property, from which he manages his Aspire events management business, who argued the Toronto Square obstructed his 'rights of light'.

Toronto Square is home to tenants including Reed Recuitment and accountancy firm Zolfo Cooper, which has taken a 10-year lease to occupy 7,050 sq ft of the top floor of the building.

And it's the top section of the building that is understood to have caused the upset,

Judge Langan QC, sitting at the Leeds District Registry, awarded Marcus Heaney a mandatory injunction against Highcross last September for the 'actionable interference' with rights of light to the former Yorkshire Penny Bank building in Infirmary Street.

Highcross bought the then five-storey property on Infirmary Street in December 2005 and added a sixth and seventh floor, which Zolfo Cooper occupies, as well as refurbishing the existing building.

One has to be careful about what one can say with an appeal case ongoing but let's hope common sense prevails. To my mind, it does nothing for the image of Leeds or the region's property community for this issue to drag on.

As one commentator posted on our website this week: "With all the problems in the world of work and business out there, this seems a meaningless issue, what use will the demolition of two floors serve? Surely there is a better way to sort it out boys."

I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Looks like the "rights to light" madness has been settled. Doesn't say how much it has cost them.

THE owner of Toronto Square, the Yorkshire office building involved in a controversial rights of light case, has secured two new clients.

Franklin Templeton Global Investors has taken 3,317 sq ft on the second floor of the Leeds building and 2,490 sq ft on the fourth floor has been taken by The Bridge IT.

Both lettings have been secured on 10-year leases at rents of up to £24 sq ft.

An out-of-court settlement was reached between developer Highcross, the owner of Toronto Square, and the owner of neighbouring Yorkshire office building over a rights of light dispute.

Highcross redeveloped Toronto Square in Leeds and had been appealing against a court order which found for Marcus Heaney, the owner of a neighbouring property who argued the building obstructed his 'rights of light'.

Settlement has now been reached between the two parties, meaning that a two-day Court of Appeal hearing, set to begin last week, will not now take place.

The 90,000 sq ft Toronto Square office scheme was completed in 2009. Two floors were added to the scheme by Highcross.

Iain Taylor, Highcross's senior asset manager, said: “These are significant lettings, which give both occupiers a prestigious location in the centre of Leeds’ business district.

"Interest levels continue to be strong and we have recently agreed terms on a further 4,400 sq ft on the third floor of the building.”

Agents for Toronto Square are CB Richard Ellis and Knight Frank. Franklin Templeton was represented by King Sturge.

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Well that is good news, and also good to hear of the lettings. This is a decent conversion in my opinion and a substantial addition to the business district of the city centre, so is good to have such a seemingly serious threat hanging over its head removed.
A large letting and a good sign in the office market. Every occupation like this hopefully brings us one step closer to the development of some new offices... if only they could get someone in Broadgate or Latitude!

Towry relocates to Toronto Square
Last updated: 1st Dec 2011 at 08:13am | | Wealth adviser Towry is relocating its Leeds office to Toronto Square, the £10m development by property fund manager Highcross.

Towry is taking 11,000 sq ft on the fifth floor of Toronto Square on a ten-year lease. Towry was previously based in St Paul's Street.

"The office move brings the team right into the centre of the Leeds business district," said Sarah Johnson, property and facilities manager at Towry.

"The new premises will provide a high quality environment for both our clients and professional contacts and demonstrates our commitment to growing our business in Leeds."

Iain Taylor, senior asset manager at Highcross' Northern office, added: "This is the largest single letting at Toronto Square so far, and takes the total space let since the beginning of the year to nearly 30,000 sq ft."

Agents for Highcross at Toronto Square are CB Richard Ellis and Knight Frank.
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