Victoria Gate, July 2015
This is the new Victoria Gate shopping centre, currently under construction in the centre of Leeds. It will replace the run-down shops and pubs that stretched up the hill, so that visitors to the city will emerge from the coach station to be greeted by a gleaming retail cathedral. I noticed that the steel beams have been painted to prevent any rust formation, and hence prolong the life of the building; when the Old Trafford extension was being constructed ten years ago, it appeared that the steel members were already brown with corrosion as the building took shape.
And, viewing the gradual assembly of this edifice, I can’t help thinking about the sheer cost of building this centre. How much for each of those steel beams, and how much to have them painted and tested and transported to the site? How much for the Quantity Surveyors who plot the material requirements for this temple of shopping enjoyment? And how long will it take before the centre actually generates enough income to pay for its own construction?