What will replace Next on Fargate? Two restaurant chains battle for Sheffield spot
Two restaurant companies have shown an interest in a former shop on Fargate in a rare piece of good news for Sheffield city centre.
Both are national chains and have their sights on the former Next - raising the prospect of a bidding war.
The unit, at the corner of Norfolk Row, has been empty for more than a year after Next moved to The Moor. It is having a £1.5m revamp.
It is a bright spot on the premium retail street which has record vacancies due to online shopping and the pandemic.
But it is not the only one.
A bakery has shown an interest in 37 Fargate a former Hays Travel, according to David Woodhead of Wakefield-based Woodhead Investments. The firm owns both buildings.
“We have got a food user interested in renting the whole Next building ahead of completion at the end of October. It’s the second restaurant chain that will have viewed it and sets up the prospect of it going to final offers.
“The unit has a big frontage and a lot of outside seating and a roof terrace which is a big plus for restaurants at the moment.”
Earlier this year Sheffield City Council won £16m to revamp Fargate and High Street from the Future High Streets Fund.
It all meant that in 18 months Fargate would have a ‘very different feel’, he added.
The area has seen an increase in anti-social behaviour and there are fears the M&S department store could be axed as one of 30 earmarked for the chop by the end of this year.
But Mr Woodhead was confident it would stay open due to continuing high footfall and a looming upturn into its fortunes.
The number of homeless people and beggars was no worse than any other Yorkshire town, he added. And he was confident the Business Improvement District team and police would continue to be pro-active.
“Wakefield has got similar problems and a lot of out of town shopping centres are falling empty.
“I don’t think Woodhead Investments is going to solve Fargate’s problems but we will play our part.”