Sheffield’s chance to attract international investors is “the best it has been in my business lifetime,” according property tycoon Kevin McCabe.
The Blades co-owner believes there will “never be a better time” for the city to capitalise on major demand for commercial developments such as offices, flats and shopping centres.
He also said the city was “ahead of the pack” for Chinese investment outside London after a string of deals including Jerry Cheung’s £65m New Era development and the city council’s £220m agreement with Sichuan Guodong Construction.
Mr McCabe said: “Until three years ago China could only see London. Now, with the deal the council has struck, the city is ahead of the pack.
“Sheffield City Council has got an excellent deal in place, now they have to work on ensuring they fast-track it into bricks and mortar.
“The opportunity is the best I have seen in my lifetime. Provincial towns and cities have suffered for a long time. That has created major demand. Sheffield has the chance to become make good partnerships for a long time.”
His firm, Scarborough Group, is behind two new office blocks worth £37m on the Digital Campus on Sheaf Street jointly funded by Metro Holdings of Singapore.
They will form the entrance to a planned £200m upmarket shopping centre on the bus station set to rise in terraces up to Arundel Gate in the city centre.
Announced in November, it is not yet known whether the bus station will be integrated into the new buildings - as in Doncaster’s Frenchgate Centre - or moved altogether and replaced by a ‘string of pearls’ circling the city.
It is understood Metro Holdings is keen to be involved. And talks with landowners including the city council, SYPTE and Hallam University are going well, potentially reducing the original 10-year time frame.
Scarborough Group is also in talks with the Homes and Communities Agency over redeveloping Sheaf Square outside Midland Station which is set to have an HS2 stop.