Chinese investors plan £30m Sheffield apartments scheme

14 Dec 2016....GV of Aizlewood's Mill and surrounding area , Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
14 Dec 2016....GV of Aizlewood's Mill and surrounding area , Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
0
Have your say

Chinese investors aiming to turn the city’s central library into a five-star hotel are also planning to build new £30m apartments in the heart of Sheffield.

The Guodong group, which signed a 60-year partnership deal with Sheffield Council earlier this year, is designing a new scheme in the West Bar area of the city.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year partnership deal with Wang Chunming, chairman and president of Chinese firm Sichuan Guodong Construction Group, in Sheffield's sister city Chengdu.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year partnership deal with Wang Chunming, chairman and president of Chinese firm Sichuan Guodong Construction Group, in Sheffield's sister city Chengdu.

The scheme for private flats is expected to be built on vacant land on Spitalfields close to Aizelwoods Mill.

It is separate to a parallel plan for the West Bar area by developer Urbo, which will see £175m spent on creating offices, apartments, restaurants, shops and a four-star hotel in an development that would be known as West Bar Square.

A council report on the proposals said: “Guodong is expected to shortly begin pre-planning application discussions with the planning authority for a private residential development in the West Bar area of the city.

“It is currently in the design development stage and a target date of January 2017 has been identified for this project to enter its pre-planning application stage.

“The private residential development is located in the West Bar area of the city centre and is expected to represent an investment of around £30 million in to this area of Sheffield.

“The council entered into an exclusivity agreement with Guodong to enable it to develop proposals for the site prior to agreeing Heads of Terms and entering into a conditional contract for the land.”

It is expected to be the construction firm’s first Sheffield project, ahead of its proposed plans to turn the city’s Central Library into a five-star hotel.

It comes as Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business and economy, said the city’s deal with the Chinese will not be affected by falls in the pound despite recent council reports suggesting less money is now available.

When the council signed the deal with the Guodong group in the summer it said the initial investment would be worth £220m to the city over the next three years.

But a recent council report said the deal was now for investment of £200m over five years.

At last week’s council meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Smith asked in writing why the size of the investment has changed ‘so much in a short period of time’.

Coun Bramall said in response the deal was for $300m and was ‘subject to currency fluctuations’.

He told the Star the level of investment has not been affected and the change in the amount and the timescale is a ‘technicality’ based on $300m being the initial amount available in a partnership that could last up to 60 years.

He said: “With the deal we have signed, if this partnership goes well, the amount of money that could be spent in Sheffield is unlimited.

“We don’t know how much the projects are going to cost as we don’t know what they are yet.

“The bottom line is we have got a guy who has a huge amount of money to invest and we have brought it to Sheffield. That has got to be a good thing.”