Thursday, November 10, 2022

News: National retailer updates plans for large empty Rotherham unit


A national chain is working out how to take on a large Rotherham retail unit that has had many uses in recent years.

Since Homebase at Parkgate Shopping closed a decade ago, the large unit has been used by Best Buy, Kiddicare and as an outlet for JD Sports Fashion plc's outdoor brands - Millets and Blacks.

Rothbiz revealed in Januray that a planning application had been submitted showing that the Frasers Group was eyeing up the vacant store.

Founded by Mike Ashley in 1982, Frasers Group is now a collection of the world’s most iconic brands - notably Sports Direct, Flannels, GAME and USC.

The January plans, drawn up by Jigsaw Planning, show how the unit would be transformed with the installation of a mezzanine comprising of 22,400 sq ft retail floorspace and additional 20,400 sq ft gym.

The latest application updates the proposal with the group now only wishing to create a partial mezzanine for a gym at 22,646 sq ft.

The main operators would be Sports Direct and Everlast Fitness Club. Plans also show 6,000 sq ft of space on the ground floor for Fraser Group retailer, USC, along with smaller space for GAME and Evans Cycles. A 7,000 ft unit is also shown which could be sub-let by the group.

Sports Direct and USC already have units at Parkgate.

Space for designer brand retailer, Flannels has been removed.

The application explains: "In 2014 Sports Direct bought out the LA Fitness chain of gyms and underwent a rebranding to Sports Direct/Everlast Fitness gyms. Once this rebranding was complete, the next step in growth of the brand was to amalgamate the two elements of their business, retail and gymnasium. The first unit to open an amalgamated store and gym was at Aintree, Liverpool, where a purpose-built scheme houses the two elements side by side.

"The proposed development will result in the provision of an Everlast Fitness Club at the mezzanine level of the existing unit, retaining the ground floor for retail uses (to be occupied by the Sports Direct, USC and Game brands)."

As the proposals would take the retail space of the unit up to nearly 70,000 sq ft, and the site is classed as out of town, a retail assessment and sequential test is also included.

Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen.

As the applicant is looking for a large unit where a gym and retail store can be co-located, vacant units and undeveloped sites in Rotherham town centre and other local centres have been discounted, mainly for being too small. The sequential test concludes: "there are no more sequentially preferable sites within allocated centres that are suitable or available to accommodate the proposed development"

The development of the vacant unit is the third attempt from Sports Direct to expand in Rotherham. In 2016, the group was looking at the 51,000 sq ft mini-warehouse vacated by B&Q to use for a number of its brands. It is now a car retail site operated by The Trade Centre Group.

In 2018, Sports Direct applied to install a mezzanine level for a gym at the current Matalan store at Parkgate.

Frasers Group website

Images: Everlast Gyms / Facebook


Anonymous,  November 11, 2022 at 12:15 PM  

So basically just 'Mike Ashley World' then

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