Leeds Victoria Gate construction to begin in April

Artist's impression of the outside of the shopping centre Victoria Gate is expected to open in autumn 2016

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Building work on a new £150m shopping centre in Leeds will begin next month, the developers have announced.

The Victoria Gate development, formerly known as Eastgate Quarters, is to include a flagship John Lewis store, restaurants, casino and car park.

Hammerson, which owns the Bullring in Birmingham and the Brent Cross centre in London, said it would open in 2016.

Leeds councillor Richard Lewis said Victoria Gate would encourage "much-needed economic growth" in the city.

The council, which approved plans for the development in September, said 1,000 jobs would be created during the first phase of construction and 1,500 retail and hospitality jobs once it opens.

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said building work would start on 7 April.

"A huge amount of hard work and commitment from the team, the council and John Lewis has enabled us to reach this point," he said.

"As we begin the delivery phase our focus is now to ensure we attract the best retailers and to ensure that on opening in 2016, Victoria Gate becomes a thriving destination within Leeds."

Last year, the £350m Trinity Leeds shopping centre opened, the only major retail development to open in the UK in 2013.

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