Monday, May 11, 2009

News: YES! Project developers sign Rother Valley Country Park lease


Oak Holdings, the property development and consultancy group, has announced it has signed an agreement with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council for a seven year Head Leasehold interest in the Rother Valley Country Park.

Oak will take over the operation and management of the Park, with a clear strategy to improve and enhance the existing facilities whilst also embarking on a programme of progressively introducing new attractions to widen the appeal of this existing significant destination which currently attracts over 800,000 visitors per annum.

The Park, which extends to 1,097 acres, will be integrated into Oak's adjacent 327 acre, £300 million YES! Project, the Development Agreement for which was executed in August 2008. The YES! Project will comprise 1.2million sq ft covered, fully integrated, mixed-use, leisure and entertainment based resort, activity and conference destination. When completed the project will become the largest undercover leisure based scheme in Europe.

Chief Executive of Oak Holdings, Steve Lewis, said: "The acquisition of the lease is further confidence in this location and in the YES! Project. The future integration of the Park into the YES! Project has always been our intention, but this early acquisition allows us to progress new initiatives earlier. The early inward investment will not only enhance the well established reputation of the Park, but also create new jobs and opportunities for the region. This arrangement cements our relationship with RMBC and demonstrates our commitment to develop an all-encompassing attraction, integrating facilities at both the YES Project and the Park. The opportunities that this regeneration of a former coal field can bring to the region are substantial."

The directors have been in negotiations with various investors who have expressed an interest in subscribing for new shares in the company following the commencement of the RVCP lease.

Although current economic circumstances dictate that progress towards a physical start to the development will take longer than anticipated, discussions with potential tenants remain ongoing.

Graham Axford, Director of Oak said "Several potential investors and also several existing shareholders have witnessed our determined progress over the years and are in serious discussions to invest. Each recognises the skills of the management team and the potential value that we have produced for our shareholders and for our partner, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, as well as the sustainable social and employment value that we shall create for the local area by delivering our inclusive scheme in South Yorkshire."

Oak expects to conclude these serious discussions within the following weeks.

Oak Holdings website

Images: Oak Holdings / RiDO


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