Wednesday, April 14, 2021

News: Rotherham development plots sold to joint venture - Catalyst coming

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Development sites with the potential to create around 1,000 jobs in Rotherham have been sold to a joint venture between Premcor Estates and Peveril Securities.

Plans were approved in 2019 to enable the successful Sheffield Business Park to expand into Rotherham. "Phase 4" is planned for a 17.9-acre site that was previously kept in the greenbelt when Sheffield City Airport was in operation.

Premcor, a private UK based property development company, has joined with Peveril Securities, a wholly owned investment and development division of Bowmer and Kirkland, on its first ever South Yorkshire site.

Land between Europa Link and the Parkway is set to be transformed to create a prominent business gateway to the Sheffield city region's wider Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), with the proposals including building footprints ranging from 10,764 sq ft to 107,649 sq ft of B1b (research and development), B1c (industrial process), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution) facilities.

Following the deal, for an undisclosed sum, the project has been renamed "Catalyst" and will be developed as a mixture of industrial and logistics units totalling 285,000 sq ft in a landscaped parkland setting. Designs are being submitted with construction work scheduled to commence in the third quarter 2021.

Graham Sadler, managing director at Sheffield Business Park, said: "Phase 4 is one of the last remaining development opportunities on the park which is well placed to serve occupier demand and help drive forward Sheffield City Region’s economic growth.

"We have an excellent working relationship with the commercial property team at Keebles and have utilised their high-quality real estate team for a number of years."

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Rebecca Schofield, partner and head of the Yorkshire industrial team at Knight Frank, acted for Sheffield Business Park, and are retained agents with BNP Paribas on the scheme.

Rebecca said: "This site represents the last remaining plot of this size at Sheffield Business Park, easily accessible from Sheffield Parkway with convenient links to the north and south from the M1.

"The site and its development potential will address strong demand for industrial accommodation across the region as well occupiers looking to be close to the Advanced Manufacturing Park."

Led by Keebles’ Partner Richard Smith, the firm’s commercial property team acted as legal advisors to Sheffield Business Park. Richard said: "We were delighted to advise on the sale of Phase 4, which is in a prime position fronting Sheffield Parkway and close to the M1.

"It is always rewarding to advise on a deal which will bring further development opportunities to Sheffield, with some high-profile names having been based in the area for some time now."

Images: Premcor

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News: World's largest titanium casting made in Rotherham

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Part of an industrial pump destined for Japan is thought to be the largest titanium casting ever poured into a ceramic shell, and it was made here in Rotherham.

Castings Technology International Ltd (Cti) is a world-leading provider of manufacturing, technology, expertise and services to the cast metals sector and global supply chain.

The company, which is based on the Advanced Manufacturing park (AMP), has casting capabilities in almost any type of metal alloy and has a 1,200kg titanium vacuum melting capability, which ranks it as one of the largest in the world. In conjunction with customers' design teams, CTI is casting complex components supplied into the aerospace, defence, chemical nuclear and marine markets.

Cti has recently produced the largest single component ever cast by the company in commercially pure titanium and it is probably the largest titanium part poured into a ceramic mould.

With an envelope of 1,000mm square by 600mm high and requiring over 1.2 tonnes of metal to be melted, the casting showcases several novel casting techniques developed in-house at Cti; the heart of cast metal innovation.

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This casting was part of an order from a Japanese OEM and will be used by their client in an industrial pump that handles highly corrosive media at elevated temperatures.

Titanium casting production is complex and requires expertise not only in metallurgy, but advanced foundry methodology.

Involved in the production of this titanium casting were George Appleby who joined CTi as an apprentice in 2018 and his training and development has led to him running the one of the largest ceramic shelling rooms in the world. Vilma Klimaviciene whose first role in engineering also started with CTi in 2018 works in the Titanium Finishing department.

Cti recently underwent a £2m fundraising and a management buyout (MBO) from the University of Sheffield.

Cti website

Images: Cti

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

News: Westgate Chambers work continues

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The largest private-led regeneration project currently ongoing in Rotherham town centre is coming into view.

Renovation plans for Westgate Chambers were approved in 2018. A £10m scheme designed by Sheffield-based Self Architects involves the creation of a showcase commercial, retail and residential development that involves renovating the buildings that surround a landscaped internal courtyard, including a superb Georgian Grade II listed building, one of the oldest surviving historic structures in Rotherham town centre.

The buildings, close to the important regeneration site of Forge Island, were bought by the Council in 2006 but the authority's own redevelopment efforts were hit by the economic downturn and a removal of Government funding. Having sold the properties, the current scheme, by Peter Hill of developers HMP Bespoke Construction Ltd, is providing high quality retail, leisure and commercial space at street level with contemporary apartments above.

The development site originally contained six buildings which surrounded an enclosed service yard. Three buildings fronting Main Street, and the fourth listed building, has frontages onto Main Street and Westgate. Two buildings in a dilapidated condition fronting Domine Lane have been demolished.

The renovation part of the development involves the renovation, repair, and reorganisation of four existing buildings with an individual character. The New York View Apartments comprises of 29 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, many benefiting from their own private outside space.

On the first building (previously home to Planet and a taxi rank) new sympathetically designed shopfronts and a new entrance foyer now front Main Street. At the rear, the previously awkward roof geometry has be updated with simple pitched and flat roofs behind a new parapet. The old patchwork of brickwork to the southern elevation has gained a crisp render finish, inset with new windows in a contemporary dark grey.

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Parisian-style attic accommodation in the roof space of the next building (Body-Tec) has created penthouse flats with roof terraces hidden from street level by the existing parapet wall, giving valuable outside space (pictured, below).

Work continues on the "Westgate Centre" building on Main Street where a third floor is being created with the use of dormer windows.

On Domine Lane, work is underway on the new building that will create Westgate City View Apartments. The development "brings high-quality contemporary architecture, which will lift the street scene and continue the recent contemporary development" at the adjacent Old Market building.

Finally, on the corner of Main Street and Westgate stands the remains of a handsome Grade 2 Listed Georgian building, originally a fine residence built-in 1794 by the architect John Platt and occupied by him until his death in 1810.

Self Architects, who have submitted updated plans for the development, said: "We propose to reinstate that handsome Georgian fa├žade by fitting appropriate 9 and 12-panel double glazed timber sash windows to the Main Street and Westgate facades and renew the shopfronts in a style complementary to the building."

New cladding, brickwork and a replacement roof are part of the plans. The red brick stairwell serving the back of the listed building, will be reinvented to form an attractive secure entrance foyer and stairwell. Some internal changes are being proposed.

The plans conclude: "The result of the proposed renovations would reinstate the buildings own identity as a handsome Georgian building, when viewed from Main Street and Westgate, and provide high-quality residential apartments with their own outside space, overlooking the courtyard.

"A new sympathetically designed roof will ensure the structural integrity for many years to come."

Images: Atollie Property Management

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News: JD Gyms open in Rotherham

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JD Sports Fashion Plc has opened a branch of its JD Gyms fascia in Rotherham, converting the former Xercise4Less operation on the edge of the town centre.

JD Gyms is a market leading, premium low cost proposition that competes strongly with mid-market and premium gyms. JD Gyms Rotherham is a state of the art £2m facility, boasting a huge free weights area, 250+ cardio machines, 100s of classes and luxury changing rooms.

Last year, JD Sports Fashion Plc acquired, out of administration, 50 gyms which had previously traded as Xercise4Less for a total consideration of £24.2m.

Opened at the beginning of 2014 in the former B&Q premises on Greasborough Street, a 15 year lease was signed on the 31,000 sq ft property at a rent of £201,500 a year.

Xercise4Less had been facing financial difficulties caused by an increasingly competitive market, which was exacerbated by Covid-19.

An easing of restrictions has meant that gyms can reopen from this week and JD Gyms opened in Rotherham on April 12.

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Following the acquisition JD subsequently returned 11 of the acquired sites back to the relevant landlords and currently anticipate retaining at least 36 of the remaining gyms longer term. Negotiations on new leases are still ongoing on a small number of sites. The programme of works to convert these gyms to the JD fascia was accelerated through the most recent temporary closure period with a total of 19 clubs now converted to the JD format.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman at JD Sports Fashion Plc, said: "The lockdowns in the year have brought into sharper focus the physical and mental health benefits of regular exercise. Therefore, we are pleased to welcome our members back to our clubs in England which have now re-opened and look forward to re-opening in the other nations shortly.

"We are confident that our JD and X4L clubs offer a safe environment for our members, with significant investments made in reconfiguring the space in our clubs to facilitate social distancing and providing sanitisation stations."

JD Gyms website

Images: JD Gyms / Facebook

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Monday, April 12, 2021

News: Support for Rotherham as restrictions eased

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A government grant aims to help kickstart Rotherham's economy and businesses and give people reassurance they can shop and socialise safely as retail, gyms, hairdressers and some pubs, restaurants and cafes can reopen from today.

The borough has also been selected to receive expert support from the High Streets Task Force.

The support comes as Rotherham waits for £12m from the Government for much larger regeneration projects.

In the meantime, Rotherham Council is to recieve £235,727 from the £56m Welcome Back Fund which aims to help local authorities boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives.

The funding can also be used by councils to:

- Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
- Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
- Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
- Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti

Rotherham Council has recently revealed one initiative to keep Rotherham open with its "Let's Get Rotherham Moving" campaign. You will see posters, signs and various other activity throughout Rotherham.

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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has also confirmed the first 70 councils who will benefit from targeted, hands-on support from the government's High Streets Task Force, an elite team of high street experts who will advise them on how to adapt to meet changing consumer demands so they can thrive in the years ahead.

The MP said: "As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

"We need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much."

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, added: "As restrictions ease and life begins to return to normal, it is vital we support our high streets and local businesses so that they are ready to welcome customers. I am delighted that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is set to receive £235,727 from the Welcome Back Fund to support local businesses here in Rother Valley and boost our local economy.

"High streets are at the very heart of our communities and I am determined to see high streets across Rother Valley become thriving spaces as the government delivers on its commitment to build back better and level up."

The Government announced a new High Streets Task Force in 2019. Rotherham is one of 70 authorities eligible to receive direct support from Task Force Experts who will consult with local leaders from government, business, and the community to diagnose the issues blocking transformation and to recommend ways to make positive change happen on the high street.

Tailored to a specific local high street or centre, the support aims to help create the best vision and strategies for the area. Following a one-day expert visit, each location can receive a range of services offered by the Task Force, including expert consultancy, mentoring, visioning or place making workshops, access to local footfall data, and training programmes for place managers and leaders.

Images: RMBC

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