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Sheffield Council to head up £600 million retail quarter

Sheffield City Council has vowed to take the lead on the shelved Sevenstones city centre shopping scheme

The authority said it already had interest from property developers in the £400 million project, which hit the rocks after developer Hammerson pulled out in July, pledging to press ahead with the long-awaited project (AJ 29.07.2013).

Claiming the scheme could be finished by 2019, the council intends to set up a collaborative development vehicle (CDV) which would enable development works to begin before a development partner is found.

Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council said: ‘The project needs to be as flexible as possible at the outset. A collaborative development vehicle (CDV) could allow a much more controlled approach to delivery - providing flexibility and mitigating risk.’

The original Sevenstones scheme involved demolishing and rebuilding an area of Sheffield city centre between West Street and The Moor.

The 80,000m² project initially featured buildings by Foreign Office Architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, BDP, Pick Everard, Stiff + Trevillion, and ACME. Hawkins\Brown and O’Donnell + Tuomey were also involved.

But the proposed shopping mall was hit by a number of setbacks and, despite the City Council’s attempts to revive the project and a re-think by ACME, the scheme has effectively been on hold since 2009.

Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council said: ‘Despite the weak economic recovery we have seen in the past three years, we have been working with other private sector partners on new developments across the city, such as the £40 million new Moor development. There’s no reason why the new retail quarter can’t go ahead now. We’re in a very strong position with the viable package we have on the table.’

Bramall added: ‘There is certainly confidence in the city, and interest in taking a retail development forward. We want a high quality retail offer for Sheffield City Centre to compliment what is already available. Our vision is more than just the new retail quarter. We want a commercial centre for Sheffield and the wider City Region that can attract investment and jobs to the area.’

The council is currently reviewing the scheme and looks set to take it to market by March 2014.

Previous story (AJ 29.07.13)

Developer pulls out of Sevenstones scheme

Developer Hammerson has pulled out of the huge £600 million Sevenstones shopping centre scheme in Sheffield

The firm said it was focusing on new projects in Leeds and London rather than the long-awaited redevelopment of Sheffield city centre’s retail district.

Originally announced in 2006, the Sevenstones scheme would have involved demolishing and rebuilding an area of the city centre between West Street and the Moor.

The 80,000m² project originally featured buildings by Foreign Office Architects; Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisBDP; Pick Everard; Stiff + Trevillion; and ACME. Hawkins\Brown and O’Donnell + Tuomey were also involved.

But the proposed mall was hit by a number of setbacks and, despite the City Council’s attempts to revive the project and a re-think by ACME, the scheme has effectively been on hold since 2009.

Hammerson chief investment officer Peter Cole said this week: ‘We have worked very hard to achieve a retail scheme which creates a thriving city centre environment in Sheffield. Through this process we have looked at various options to redesign the original large-scale scheme, which was conceived pre-recession.

‘We have now reviewed our UK development projects and, having made significant advances and commitments on a number of our other schemes, we have therefore decided not to progress Sevenstone.’

The developer said it would work with Sheffield City Council and John Lewis to identify ways the city could create a deliverable regeneration proposal in the future.

David Cross of CODA Architects said: ‘This isn’t a surprise and has been expected for well over a year. There was an alternative developer at one point but who knows now…with Sheffield’s record of being ant-business they may choose to go elsewhere.’

He added: ‘We should have an independent inquiry onto the fiasco and expect some heads to roll.’

The council’s response:

Leigh Bramall, the cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council said: ‘The Council’s view is that the city can’t wait any longer. We have the land assembled, utilities in place, have established the level of funding available, and methodology to inject the funding to undertake supporting public works. 

‘We have confirmed a scheme is viable and so we will now be seeking a new development partner to move the project forward in the shortest time possible.

‘We are taking control of the situation. We have got everything in place to make this a viable, attractive development scheme, and we can’t wait any longer to take this forward. I can appreciate Hammerson’s desire to ensure that this investment meets with their commitments globally and the additional finance that that may require, but the people of Sheffield have waited long enough for a new retail quarter. We are doing everything we can to make this happen, and now this means seeking a new partner.’

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