PLANS for a stalled multi-million office development in Sheffield are back on track, after a new company stepped in to take the scheme forward.
A £400 million project for offices, a hotel, supermarket, bars and restaurants at West Bar, on the edge of Sheffield city centre, fell by the wayside when developers Castlemore Securities went into administration in March 2009.
Now the scheme has been taken on by Urbo, a regeneration company established by two local companies, Arnold Laver and Bolsterstone plc.
Coun Helen Mirfin–Boukouris, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, jobs and growth, said: “This is a huge and very significant project for the city, one that will totally transform the site over the next 10 to 15 years as well as creating more jobs.
“It will also bring an end to uncertainty for businesses who own or occupy premises in the area.”
Offices on the seven-acre site - bordered by West Bar, Corporation Street and Bridge Street - will be designed to offer accommodation to legal, professional and financial businesses, linking the legal and professional district in the Cathedral Quarter with the crown courts and the growing Riverside business and residential community.
The council is also keen to promote redevelopment of the land as a way of expanding the city centre northwards towards the inner relief road and creating more attractive and safer connections with Kelham Island.
The Halesowen-based Castlemore scheme had included a 240-bed four- or five-star hotel, 750 apartments and accommodation for up to 500 students well as 900,000 square feet of grade A office space and leisure attractions.
It remains to be seen whether the new firm will stick to the original designs - which included two tower blocks, one soaring to 27 storeys and one to 14. It is expected Urbo will seek to submit a new planning application. More will be known when councillors are briefed at a cabinet meeting later this month.
Urbo has asked the council and Castlemore’s administrators, Price Waterhouse Coopers, to transfer the West Bar Development Agreement so it can revive the scheme.
Urbo is already working on major projects such as the £300m Chesterfield Waterside project and a 120 acre regeneration scheme in Bradford.
Bolsterstone already owns land within the West Bar site.
The council hopes Urbo will acquire remaining land through negotiation, “enabling property owners to make decisions about relocation”. The authority says it may have to resort to compulsory purchase order powers - but only ‘as a last resort’.