Thursday, December 13, 2018

News: Strong interest in Rotherham scheme from cinema operators

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Development partner, Muse is projecting confidence in landing a cinema operator for the Forge Island redevelopment in Rotherham town centre.

Muse Developments was chosen as the Council's preferred partner with a proposal that includes a cinema, food and drink outlets and a hotel. The leisure facilities will be set within an attractive public space and will include a new pedestrian bridge connecting to the rest of the town centre.

Discussion over legal agreements continue with Rothbiz reporting on the Council's proposal to take on a head lease of the completed development over a fixed term.

Dan Needham, development director at Muse Developments, gave an update on the progress being made at a recent meeting of the Rotherham Pioneers - the exclusive group for Rotherham businesses who want to promote the town, celebrate all that is good, and grow the Rotherham business community.

The first phase is expected to be a £35m project at current prices with a cinema seen as a key anchor tenant.

Needham explained: "Having already gone out to the market, the demand is there for up to 11 screens. Four out of eight cinema operators have a demand for Rotherham and we are in talks with two of them. We expect to enter discussions on heads of terms next year and potentially announce a cinema operator for Forge Island in March."

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It is getting on for 30 years since Rotherham had a cinema. Cannon, the last town centre cinema, closed in 1990.

The practical completion of the cinema and the first two food and beverage units is pencilled in for October 2020.

The Council's agreement with Muse will include a requirement that the cinema, hotel and two of the restaurant units will be pre-let before the head lease is signed. The initial lease periods will be 20 years for the hotel and cinema and ten years for the restaurant/café units.

Work is progressing on the site with Rotherham Council addressing flood issues with multimillion pound plans for new 3.75 metre high retaining walls and a new flood gate.

Needham, whose grandmother was from Rotherham, added: "Forge island is a fantastic opportunity for leisure but it is not without its challenges, such as flood risk and its previous use for the rolling mills. It's about turning these around and also creating links between the station, the council offices, the stadium and Minster Gardens. Forge Island has a massive role to play.

"The water defines the site. The aspects of the scheme would usually be accommodated on a smaller site but we've been provided with the opportunity for more outside space such as outdoor seating."

With approximately 350 car parking spaces, the scheme is set to include undercroft parking that is designed to flood. The developments above will be raised by around three metres which means that a new footbridge from Minster Gardens and a cleared Riverside precinct site would actually go slightly up towards Forge Island.

Needham concluded: "We can't wait to get going."

Forge Island website
Rotherham Pioneers website

Images: Google Maps / Muse / RMBC

2 comments:

Anonymous,  December 13, 2018 at 12:49 PM  

11 screens is more like it,the muted 5 screens is totally inadequate,and would not allow all the films on release to be showed.

Anonymous,  December 18, 2018 at 12:31 PM  

good luck Rotherham, i've a feeling this isnt going to end well.

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