Thursday, February 1, 2018

News: Forging ahead with major Rotherham town centre redevelopment

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Developers are being asked to put forward proposals for how they would realise the key regeneration project in the Rotherham town centre masterplan - Forge Island - as Rotherham Council officially launches its search for a development partner.

At the end of 2017, Rotherham Council approved the adoption of the town centre masterplan, enabling the authority to secure a development partner for the £43m cinema and hotel led proposals for Forge Island.

Developed for the Council by WYG Group and Lambert Smith Hampton, the plans include key catalyst projects with the focus on leisure and new housing to revitalise the town.

Indicating the focus on implementation, the authority has worked to secure an number of sites in the town - Forge Island, the Law Courts and Riverside Precinct, backed by funding via the Sheffield City Region.

Now a "Development Pack" is being made available for potential development partners detailing the development opportunity and appointment process around the three plots which make up the 2.73ha riverside site which sits between the railway station, Interchange, council offices, football stadium and Minster.

The new website for the project states: "Forge Island is a leisure led mixed use redevelopment site.

"Based on background research undertaken, it is anticipated that the site could accommodate a cinema, hotel, restaurants and bars, town centre parking, as well as high quality business space and modern residential opportunities."

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The move to secure a development partner follows on from a period of "soft-market testing" carried out by the authority alongside property firm, LSH.

Developers, investors and operators have been showing a keen interest in working up proposals for Forge Island including a five screen cinema, 60-bed hotel, food outlets, bars and cafes (around 24,000 - 30,000 sq ft of space), and 120+ residential units. A 300+ space multi storey car park is also in the plans and a feasibility study was mentioned in the masterplan on the potential of a new theatre and arts space on an adjacent site.

The preferred option for the Council is to seek a development partner to form a Joint Venture for the development of Forge Island. Upon completion of the scheme the Council has the option to retain the asset (its land) as an investment or sell to the investment market.

Previously the Rotherham Forge & Rolling Mills, the Forge Island site was fully cleared following the relocation of Tesco across town in 2014. Currently used as a car park, the site is owned by Rotherham Council. Half of the site is set to be used as a temporary bus station for a year whilst the current Interchange undergoes a £12.5m revamp.

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The former law courts are also in the process of being demolished. They were acquired by the Council for just £1 and previous work has shown that the adjacent Police Station could also be acquired for redevelopment. Main Street police station is not included in the Forge Island development opportunity but the masterplan identified that it could be the site of a mixed-use scheme with a strong residential component.

Through the One Public Estate strategy for the Sheffield city region, the 1.34 acre Rotherham courts site was highlighted for potential residential development as it could provide 120 units, including 60 starter homes.

To boost the development opportunity, the authority has been acquiring the freeholds of properties in the area, such as Riverside Precinct, to add to the sites already in its ownership, such as the riverside site of the former abattoir.

Two options were being discussed for the riverside sites along Corporation Street. The first is a mixed use development incorporating new and current buildings or clearing the buildings to create a larger riverside park.

The second is a transformational development opportunity involving relocating the proposed residential, retail and food and drink uses into the main development at Forge Island. This would lead to the demolition of many of the buildings on Corporation Street and the Riverside in order to create a larger riverside park linking with Minster Gardens.

Prospective developers have until March 29 to submit a Stage 1: Expression of Interest for Forge Island.

The delivery programme in the masterplan has construction work beginning on Forge Island in 2019 with completion in mid 2020.

Forge Island website

Images: RMBC / WYG

4 comments:

Mr me February 2, 2018 at 1:01 AM  

So it now looks like,the next thing Rotherham is going to.lose is its police station.Not seen anything about this before or plans for a new one.???

Tom,  February 2, 2018 at 9:42 AM  

Discussions over the "outdated" Police station were mentioned here:

http://www.rothbiz.co.uk/2017/07/news-court-date-with-wrecking-ball-nears.html

The Council is looking at renting some space out within their Riverside offices. Maybe the Police could be moving in???

Mr me February 2, 2018 at 12:04 PM  

Hardly a size police station for a town of Rotherham's size.The Downgrade of our town continues.

Anonymous,  February 2, 2018 at 1:47 PM  

Let's hope all this happens it's good news

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