Premium retailers are interested in Sheffield city centre, council bosses insist after retail quarter plans sparked mixed reactions.
The city centre is thought to be unique in having virtually no high-end stores, apart from department store John Lewis.
Consultation is to start on the £480m masterplan for a mixed use development, that replaces the failed Sevenstone scheme around Pinstone Street, Moorhead and Barkers Pool, next week.
This quarter is aimed in particular at tempting back big spenders from shopping in other cities such as Manchester and pushing the city centre up the UK retail rankings.
Shoppers are sceptical over the likely quality of shops to open and whether the development will even ever materialise.
Council bosses say they can’t reveal which retailers are interested for commercial reasons but analysis has shown high end retailers do want to come to Sheffield city centre.
“We are hoping for premium brands in there and they have shown more interest”, said council leader Julie Dore.
“It has mainly come through the work that we did with Hammerson, when they were considering Sevenstone. They as a developer know the retailers that are interested and there are these high end, premium quality retailers that have expressed interest in coming to Sheffield city centre.”
The council parted ways with developer Hammerson in 2013 after repeated delays on the £400m Sevenstone scheme. Bosses now want to have more control by being a partner in this scheme and buying back properties.
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “If we thought this wasn’t feasible we wouldn’t have put it forward.
“There’s nothing that any of us would like more than for this scheme to be a success and happen.”
A development partner is scheduled to be announced by the autumn and the quarter completed between 2019-2021.