Jake Wilde, facilities manager at property specialist Towngate PLC, based in Brighouse.
What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?
It’s a busy time for commercial property – the news of Channel 4 selecting Leeds as its new home, as well as the area witnessing its largest ever commercial letting – a 25-year lease on a 378,000 sq ft space. Companies are now also focussing on employee benefits, and a warehouse space must cater for this, as well as the overall business needs. You only need to look at the number of units appearing across Yorkshire, to know they are much more than ‘large sheds’.
What is the best project you’ve been involved in?
A full refurbishment of a stunning 1890s stone faced office building in Headingley. It had been left empty for a number of years, so to restore it to some of its previous glory – whilst also modernising it in other areas – was a great personal achievement for me.
What is your favourite building in the region?
Leeds Town Hall is still the number one building for me in the region. I look at the intricate design of it and wonder how they managed to complete it in just five years. I love how it’s still relevant today, and that it offers so much for the community.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in the region, what would it be?
The region has gone from strength to strength, for example, Leeds has Victoria Gate, Trinity and the Corn Exchange, Hull achieved capital of culture and Bradford has the Broadway. With ventures like these, there’s no surprise that this has a knock-on effect and others want to similarly bring their business to Yorkshire. With that comes the need for more commercial and industrial properties – each one better than the last.
Whom do you admire most in the Yorkshire property industry?
I admire Cuthbert Brodrick, not only for his work on Leeds Town Hall, but also because half of Leeds drink in bars named after him overlooking many of his buildings.