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Centre stage for Hilton in Leeds as plans unveiled for arena hotel

Second Hilton Hotels & Resorts Hotel for the City set to open on the doorstep of 
First Direct Arena 

Following September’s opening of the First Direct Arena, Leeds’ state-of-the-art entertainment venue, Hilton Worldwide and GB Group have reached an agreement to bring the flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand to the site by 2016.
Under a franchise deal £30 million will be spent on the new development of the upscale Hilton Leeds Arena, due to be managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels.  Located just 300 metres from the 13,500 capacity arena, which has already hosted the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Sir Elton John, the hotel will add its own touch of stardust for visitors to the complex.

Rob Palleschi, global head of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, said, “We’re delighted to bring another hotel to the city of Leeds.  Our brand has strong ties with the entertainment industry, so we’re particularly excited to be locating so close to one of the UK’s most sought-after new venues.  With Hilton Leeds City also undergoing a £4 million refurbishment this signing underlines our ongoing commitment to the Leeds market.”

Along with 206 guest rooms and suites, the property will boast a destination restaurant, business centre, gym and a rooftop bar offering views of the city skyline from a 14-storey height.  Whilst enjoying unrivalled proximity to the First Direct Arena, guests are also within walking distance of Leeds Rail Station and directly next to the Rose Bowl conferencing facility, affiliated to Leeds Metropolitan University.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide said, “The First Direct Arena has already welcomed hundreds of thousands of people through its doors since opening in September.  It has solidified the city’s status as one of the UK’s leading entertainment and retail destinations, attracting over 25 million visitors a year.  Hilton Leeds Arena will provide the quality accommodation such a top class venue demands and serve to complement our existing city centre Hilton Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton hotels.”

This is GB Group's second new hotel development in partnership with Hilton Worldwide following the successful delivery of Hilton Garden Inn Luton North, in Luton, Bedfordshire.  GB Group was advised by Jones Lang LaSalle Corporate Finance and CBRE Hotels in relation to the hotel brand and operator search and selection.  Watson Farley & Williams were legal advisors to GB Group.  Award winning architects Dexter Moren Associates designed the hotel.

Martin Smout, chairman and CEO of GB Group, said, “This is a key development for us, and marks an important milestone in our evolution from a developer contractor into a property owner investor. We are thrilled to have secured the go-ahead and funding to deliver this ambitious scheme at the heart of one of the UK’s most exciting cities, and look forward to working closely with our partners to build what will become the premier destination for business and leisure in Leeds.”

Hilton Leeds Arena will become the first Hilton Hotels & Resorts branded hotel to be managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels, which currently has 58 properties under management contracts and long-term leases.  Hilton Worldwide’s partnership with the UK’s largest independent hotel management company includes three further properties across Europe, Middle East and Africa, under the rapidly expanding DoubleTree by Hilton brand in Cape Town, Dundee and the soon to open hotel in Edinburgh City Centre.

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