Round Foundry: Inside Leeds' award-winning redevelopment
The Round Foundry Media Centre is a grand showcase for the digital innovation taking place in Leeds.
The historical former engineering works, which date back to 1795, underwent a £30 million redevelopment around the turn of the century and were reopened as office space for creative and digital media companies in December 2003.
It is part of Holbeck Urban Village, an urban renewal area south of Leeds railway station.
BusinessCloud was shown around the co-working space by Paul Taylor, co-founder and director of Creative Space Management, which runs the Round Foundry’s seven Grade II-listed buildings.
“There’s about 2,500 people who work in the cluster, both employees and freelancers, which encompass about 80 businesses,” Taylor said of the wider Holbeck Urban Village.
“The businesses here are mainly high-growth, rather than start-ups, and can employ anything from one person to a hundred.”
The Round Foundry includes restaurants, bars and cafés “that try to retain as much of the character of the old foundry as is possible”.
The redevelopment project, which retains old ironwork such as doors and staircases, has won a number of architectural awards.
Neighbouring Tower Works and Marshall's Mill are also Grade II-listed sites while Temple Works, another former flax spinning mill, is Grade I and boasts offices of Orange among other well-known firms.
Paul Taylor shows BusinessCloud editor Chris Maguire and events director Andrea Wolfendale around
One-man work pod opens out into a temporary office
“It’s a very focused sector… Leeds is a community of doers,” Taylor continued.
“Simplicity Marketing, who trade as Flashtalking, started off as a one-man work pod at the Round Foundry Media Centre – I think they have about 250 people now worldwide over seven countries.
“Their main tech presence remains in neighbouring Marshall's Mill.
“Because of constricted labour pools, the North of England has a lot to offer businesses working in the digital sector.”