14/15 Eldon Terrace, Leeds – Update!

In a previous article on Eldon Terrace, I commented on the state of repair of two terraced units on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds  (or Eldon Terrace, although no such road really exists!) and that well-thought out development approaches would enhance the local area.  Well, in this article, I want to give a bit of an update of what’s been happening since then.

Eldon Terrace

Eldon Terrace


The Shop

It seems that while I was in the USA, poring over textbooks and articles on HVAC and timber, someone had been busy putting the right-hand unit of Eldon Terrace back into use.  It is now a local convenience store, which takes advantage of the old fabric in terms of the concrete steps and shop-front frame.  I’m not going to lie, I think it’s pretty hideous.  The shop-front does not match the brick construction above and makes one uncomfortable.  The nature of the steps creates a bottleneck at the entrance/exit and creates a void underneath them which is wasted, and makes the steps look unnecessarily flimsy. Generally, the shop-front has no proportions and scale and just looks out of place.

However, I don’t want to be too harsh on the shop, since this was obviously inherited bad design from before the renovation, and an occupied shop is always better than one boarded up and disused.

The Café

At the left-hand unit, I saw no noticeable difference when I got back to Leeds in September, but when I passed the building in the past few days, I have noticed that a lot of work is being done to develop it.  The windows have been reinstated, steps cleaned up and a replacement door installed.  The quality of work so far appears to be good, and will surely enhance the building significantly.

I asked someone working on it what was happening to the building and he informed me that it was going to be an internet café. I think that the location of the building is perfect for university students and staff alike and that such a business has potential.

What I am concerned about is that a huge amount of investment obviously has and is going into the building to improve the quality.  Without a strategy to draw customers to that particular venue (over the many other cafés along that street), such work could be wasted.  However, I think that there are many ways that you could take advantage of the building in such a way as to make it a better venue than others.

Suggestions

An area of greenery should be planted outside the entrance to ensure that, with the new improvements, the building does not look even more bare than previously.  Small trees framing the unit would enhance the outdoor space, and if sensitively done, could create an transition space that does not feel too open to the main road.

It would be good to take advantage of the multiple spaces available – other cafés just have the one space and this can limit the intimacy that is possible. The upstairs rooms could be independent spaces that could be rented out, or just used by a small group who want to be in a private area. The downstairs area is also its own area that could be rented for small parties and events.

A possible alternative management structure would be to have a small members only club. The club would attract members through members-only promotions. For example, members would get two free coffees a day and would be able to book private rooms, get a private locker and use the in-house computing facilities. It could be a mini-conference centre or venue for small-scale events. An advantage of this model would be that you could get cash up front, which could then pay for the facilities that would be used by the members. If you created a membership structure that worked on the basis that the longer you took a membership for, the less you pay per month, you could get members paying for a full 9 months (an entire university year), or a year, up front, meaning that cashflow would be easier to manage.

In general, I’m optimistic that the outcome of this side of the house will be a much better place than what it as before, and better than its neighbour. I just hope that it’s sustainable!

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One Comment

  1. Posted 30 July, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I just thought you should know that the building on the left was changed into a fancy dress shop which is now bankrupt. The left building is now empty once again. I actually live nearby this property and am interested in doing something with it. I have the money however just not sure what could work here, it seems that everything fails there so far! My family actually work in the planning office which has its used. I have been informed that planning permissions for a hot food take away would be declined however a cafe would not. I wonder if this is something that could work, let me know if you have any suggestions. Also I dont suppose you know who actually owns this property and why they arnt tryng to sell it? it just seems to be empty! no for sale no nothing, its quite bizare.

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