Home Leeds New Development Company Launches To Revive Northern Cities

New Development Company Launches To Revive Northern Cities

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(L-R) Gerard Downes and Chris Gilman - Urban Life Developments

Leeds-based GMI Property and York-based Capital Property Partners have joined forces to launch Urban Life Developments, a new joint venture development company focussing on the revival of Northern towns and cities through the delivery of urban mixed-use regeneration schemes.

GMI Property, part of the GMI Holdings Group, has a long track record of bringing forward complex regeneration projects in partnership with both public and private sector organisations. The Directors have successfully delivered some of the region’s most high-profile developments including the 200-acre award-winning Thorpe Park and the iconic Bridgewater Place in Leeds. They also have extensive knowledge of working with local authorities on complex regeneration schemes, including the redevelopment of Clay Cross town centre in Derbyshire.

Capital Property Partners is a property investment business backed by one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Harpin, founder and CEO of FTSE 250 company HomeServe plc, which has a market capitalisation of circa £4 billion. In Yorkshire, Capital Property Partners has been investing in the redevelopment of Hull City Centre. Its most recent scheme, The GlassHouse at Queens Gardens in Hull, is delivering the transformation of a former Police Station in the heart of the Old Town to create 94 apartments together with gym and cinema which is due for completion in early 2020.

Urban Life Developments will be operated by GMI Property Managing Director Chis Gilman alongside Capital Property Partners Managing Director Gerard Downes, who has 24 years investment experience, with Richard Harpin acting as a strategic advisor and principal investor.


The new development company will combine its extensive experience and expertise with entrepreneurial spirit and financial strength to deliver strategic mixed-use developments in towns and cities across Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and the North East. The focus of the business is to regenerate and rejuvenate urban sites through the creation of outstanding spaces for ‘life’ to flourish, incorporating residential, retail, leisure and co-working elements.

Chris Gilman said; “We have established Urban Life Developments to address the very real need for towns and cities across the North to redefine themselves to ensure long-term survival. The high street is not just about retail, in fact those centres where retail occupies most of the floorspace are the ones that are struggling. Successful centres have strong employment opportunities, a significant residential offer and attractive cultural and civic spaces. We want to partner with local authorities to help develop places where people will want to live, work, shop and spend leisure time. This ‘Next Generation Regeneration’ can help breathe new life into our towns and cities.”

Richard Harpin continued; “I am a keen supporter of entrepreneurs and enjoy investing in opportunities that make a real difference to people and places. Being born in Huddersfield and raised in Northumblerland, I have a vested interest in the long term success of our Northern towns and cities and believe that Urban Life Developments can make great strides in revitalising these areas and enabling them to become prosperous centres. A key part of effecting change will be to establish public private sector partnerships as there are very few places where market forces alone will solve the problem. Identifying ways to work with the public sector is a fundamental part of Urban Life Developments’ strategy and we are currently in discussions with a number of parties over our first projects.”

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