As its only 200 yards from my city centre office you can imagine the excitement that’s been building up inside me for the opening of the new shopping centre in Leeds as it’s been under development.
Well today it finally happened. Trinity Leeds opened it’s gates to the public. Someone who recognized me invited me in before the crowds poured through, and I got the chance to see the ribbon being cut by Councillor Keith Wakefield. My first impressions were ‘wow’ – I expected it to be good but not that good.
On my way to the opening I was interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds. The presenter recognized me walking along Briggate. He asked me what I thought about the idea of the centre opening and the impact is was going to have on Leeds – before I’d been inside I was really curious. I’d had several offers to go and look at it in it’s construction stage but I don’t really have an eye for something until it’s finished.
There’s been a real buzz around Leeds over the last few months as the centre began to re-shape the Leeds skyline but for me I’ve been eagerly anticipating it too but when I saw the shop line up recently the only ones which excited me were the Apple store ,Snog(frozen yoghurt) and of course Hollister. Everyman cinema is also opening in April and I’m really looking forward to that.
The openness and the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re outside but it’s not like a typical shopping mall or that they’ve tried to cram too many shops in. I’ve been to many of the best shopping centres around the world including Dubai but Trinity Leeds is up there for me. Yes admittedly it doesn’t have a whole host of premium brand shops but that doesn’t matter – it feels very much like you’re somewhere in London and I’m proud it’s in my home city.
The glass domed roof designed by SKM Anthony Hunts really makes it light and open and despite being full of thousands of people it wasn’t oppressive.
The restaurant area on the second floor is amazing – more like a restaurant street not your typical food court at all. I was lucky enough to dine at Cielo Blanco before it opened to the public – it’s Mexican tapas type food and certainly right up my street. There’s even a balcony area overlooking Briggate which will be fantastic in the summer and is sure to be popular with Leeds in crowd.
I didn’t anticipate being in the Apple ‘guard of honour’ but found myself first in line to the grand opening of the store and what a welcome it was. Over 100 staff were clapping and cheering as every customer walked into the store – I felt a bit embarrassed but then just went along with it – you can either bow your head or lap it up and pretend it’s all just for you which is what I did!
There was a race on between the staff to see who could complete the first purchase and Philippa, the girl I picked was brand new and had never worked in an Apple store before. She was trembling with nerves as she tried to put the sale through on her hand held device. Then when my new ipad mini came through from the stock room everyone congratulated me– I felt part of history and quite proud to say I was Apple Leeds’ first customer. I thought I’d milk the guard of honour on the way out too and held up my ipad to sounds of more clapping and cheering – it was like something from ‘The Price is Right.’
I didn’t miss the opportunity to check out the boys in Hollister but unfortunately the cold weather had put paid to any topless bodies I was hoping to see. Roll on summer! Perhaps if they put more lights on in the shop it would warm them up?
The Centre’s Management are keen to encourage busking inside and have set up different areas for them to perform throughout – they were still experimenting today by moving buskers around the place to site them where the acoustics were best.
Weekends in Leeds are never going to be the same again. I often go to Manchester and London but now it’s all right here on my own doorstep. Well done to Land Securities for turning it all around and finally pulling it off.
Now I’m back at the office writing this I can see the domed roof of the centre and as I watch people walking on every level I think I’ll pop back up there. I’m missing it already….