Sheffield is experiencing the highest level of inward investment interest in a generation, according to Coun Mazher Iqbal, the council’s new cabinet member for business and investment.
Statistics show unprecedented levels of planned developments coming to the city over the past 12 months. More than 300 applications have the potential to generate 4,000 new jobs.
The authority receives 50 enquiries a month, Coun Iqbal said.
The burgeoning confidence in the region is reflected in Meadowhall’s application to invest £300m in its biggest development since it opened. If approved next week, the leisure hall expansion will create more than 1,000 jobs.
Existing brands at Meadowhall have also invested more than £24m in their stores there in the last two years and brands such as Michael Kors, Diesel, Joules, Kiko Milano, Jack Wills, Urban Decay, Ghost and Nespresso have recognised Sheffield as a growing market.
Added to that, the new Ikea store set to open at the end of September will deliver similar levels of employment.
Office investment in Sheffield is also seeing record growth. In Q2 this year, £43.4m was invested in the sector – an increase of 623 per cent compared with the same period a year ago and the highest quarterly investment volume since Q3 2006.
Office leasing activity across Sheffield reached 69,087sq ft in Q2 2017, 75 per cent ahead of the same period in 2016.
Coun Iqbal said: “Our success with the likes of McLaren, Boeing, the Sheffield Retail Quarter and New Era Square is grabbing the headlines.
“The city’s pipeline of potential new developments is the healthiest we’ve ever seen. Since April, we have averaged around 50 active enquiries per month but it is the scale and quality that is particularly impressive.
“If the top 10 current enquiries were all to be successful it would mean well over 500,000 square feet of new development and would create about 2,000 jobs.”
According to Coun Iqbal, current enquiries cover all sectors and range from blue chip names to smaller overseas innovative businesses who are keen to be associated with Sheffield’s success.
“It’s exciting times.
“With Meadowhall’s potential expansion, we’ve got an out-of-town shopping and leisure venue that could rival the best in the UK. On top of that we’re seeing the long-awaited transformation in the city centre with the revamped Moor and construction of Sheffield Retail Quarter.
“We’ve got the talent, grade ‘A ‘office space, the space to build and an HS2 city centre station on the horizon.”