Tuesday, November 11, 2014

News: Rotherham needs to capitalise on Tesco investment

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As the new £40m Tesco Extra prepares to open its doors to town centre shoppers this week, the developer spearheading the key scheme hopes that it can kickstart regeneration in Rotherham.

Thought to be the largest property investment deal in South Yorkshire for several years, TCN UK bought the vacated civic site from Rotherham Council for £7.3m and private property investor fund Osprey Income and Growth 2 LP purchased the development with the backing of £16.9m of equity from private investors and £23.75m of debt from HSBC Bank.

Contractors ISG, has built the 110,000 sq ft superstore, which also includes 540 parking spaces and a petrol filling station, on a five-acre site that was home to a number of council buildings.

Stephen Holme, development director of TCN UK Ltd (pictured, right), believes that now was the time for Rotherham to capitalise on this development and show to other investors it was ready for further investment.

Holme, who previously worked alongside the development team at Rotherham Council, said: "Bringing this project to completion is a milestone in the regeneration of Rotherham's town centre and has transformed the area positively, paving the way for renewed investment in the town.

"What is crucial now is that Rotherham capitalises on this level of change. South Yorkshire has huge development potential but is not yet witnessing the levels of investment and pace of change that we are witnessing across other sites in the UK such as Bristol and Birmingham."

As it set in place plans to move into new offices, Rotherham Council appointed TCN in 2007 as developers and entered an exclusivity agreement on council-owned sites covering over 10.5 acres of the town centre.

The Tesco development has prompted council planners to propose changes to the boundary of Rotherham's retail centre north to include the Tesco and car park at Walker Place, and existing car park at Drummond Street, to better define the area where retail development is concentrated.

Work has been talking place into how to bring forward a potential redevelopment of the outdoor market over the road, and the market site, and adjacent Drummond Street car park, have been earmarked as development sites where new retail space could be created.

At the adjacent bus station, the SYPTE is carrying out a review into wider development options in the area and options for the site are being explored with the landlord, Norseman Holdings. Work has been undertaken to explore funding options and further discussions are required between Norseman Holdings, Rotherham Council and SYPTE to bridge the funding gap.

The Tesco development also included £4m worth of public realm improvements and massive revisions to road and utilities infrastructure. The store was completed on budget and 14 days ahead of its anticipated completion date.

The UK's biggest retailer has created 450 jobs (200 full time and 250 part time) in Rotherham. 200 of these are additional to the current store on Forge Island and all staff at the current store would be guaranteed a job at the new site. A proportion of vacancies will be filled through Tesco's "Regeneration Partnership" which, in partnership with the local Job Centre Plus, ensures a proportion of vacancies are reserved for long term unemployed people.

Tesco website
TCN website

Images: TCN

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