Monday, September 16, 2013

News: Forge Island cinema plans set to come into view

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An outline planning application will shortly be submitted by Rotherham Council for the creation of a 25,000 sq ft cinema complex on the Forge Island site in Rotherham town centre.

Last August, the council's cabinet confirmed Forge Island as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development. The council has an option to buy the site for £1.5m when Tesco vacate and move across town to the site of former council buildings on Drummond Street.

Construction on the 110,000 sq ft superstore is well underway with the entire project scheduled for completion in late 2014.

The outline application for the cinema is needed to determine the in-principle support for such a development and to strengthen the work to promote the site to developers and cinema operators.

Council officers have already held informal discussions with three interested developers who have plans for potential regeneration projects anchored by a cinema with restaurants, retail, residential, other leisure uses and car parking.

If the planning application is approved this approach will also help to highlight the preferred location of a cinema within the borough, on this town centre site, to any future investors looking at the opportunities available in Rotherham.

An "Investors Day" is planned to take place to proactively promote the site for redevelopment and to specifically follow up initial discussions with a number of cinema operators and developers who have so far expressed an interest in the opportunities on Forge Island.

A cinema operator is likely to ask for a reverse premium as an inducement to anchor the site and make it a financial success. Another way forward is similar to that seen recently in Worksop where the council gifted land to a developer and the independently-operated Savoy cinema opened last year.

Ultimately the costs associated with purchase and development of the site and the level of interest from the private sector will inform the Council's decision on whether to exercise the current option to purchase the site on Tesco's relocation.

Retailers located at neighbouring Riverside Precinct and Corporation Street were recently invited to meet with council colleagues from the Regeneration, Retail Investment & Asset Management Teams to discuss the latest progress and updates and their own individual circumstances.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: Tom Austen

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Rotherham Stuff September 23, 2013 at 7:41 PM  

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