Sheffield Council hopes to make a ‘real statement of intent’ by approving the start of the new retail quarter next week.
Cabinet members will meet on Wednesday to sign off the start of work on the long-awaited £480m regeneration scheme.
The first phase includes the demolition of the Grosvenor Hotel and surrounding shops, and the construction of a new office block which will be the new Sheffield headquarters of HSBC. A planning application will be submitted once terms are agreed with the bank.
The second phase, yet to be approved, is the redevelopment of the area between Barker’s Pool and Pinstone Street.
Sheffield Council’s deputy leader Leigh Bramall said: “We are pleased that this report is now before cabinet and that there is a real momentum behind the Sheffield Retail Quarter.
“Working with our partners and potential tenants, we are now working up a deliverable and commercially viable scheme to help create the vibrant city centre Sheffield needs to be successful.”
According to the report the council wants to start the first phase ahead of the rest of the scheme ‘in order to make a real statement of intent’. HSBC wants to see the first phase finished by early 2019.
Public consultation on the first phase is likely to begin in the next few weeks.
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The council has already announced Queensberry Real Estate as its strategic development partner for the retail quarter. According to the report to cabinet, Queensberry will carry out a ‘comprehensive commercial review’ of the plans.
This will involve taking the lead on negotiations will all retailers. Queensberry will prepare the business plan for a ‘vibrant and successful’ retail quarter and help the council to secure private sector investment.
The council will continue as the developer and investor. It aims to have an agreement with a an ‘anchor’ tenant, hoped to be John Lewis, by December this year, and planning permission in place by December 2017.