The big gap has opened up - now let’s fill it

Moor demolition
Moor demolition

Demolition is almost complete, leaving a huge gap in one of Sheffield city centre’s most high profile shopping locations.

Rows of shops facing The Moor and Chesham House office block facing Charter Row have gone to open up a large piece of land for redevelopment.

In the current economic climate, there are plenty of demolition sites waiting for something to happen. Backers of the project to revitalise The Moor, though, say everything is in place for construction to start late summer on a complex that will include a nine-screen cinema, a Primark budget fashion store and several restaurants and smaller shops.

And they expect building work to be completed by the end of next year, although the fit out required for the cinema and Primark indicates opening dates around the middle of 2016. Meanwhile, negotiations are being concluded with restaurant operators.

The scheme is now in the hands of Aberdeen Asset Management, which announced last month it had acquired Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Property Trust.

Ranald Philips, director of Ashcroft, asset manager for The Moor, said: “I’m happy that the strategy is the right one – and we are on track.”

Retail and leisure activity on The Moor contrasts with other parts of the city centre, notably the location of the Sevenstone retail quarter, and Castlegate from where the markets have relocated.

As well as the big redevelopment site next to Debenhams, the vision for The Moor extends to demolishing the corner with Furnival Gate where McDonalds and Adams used to stand – talks are being held with a fashion retailer - and bringing other retailers to new, currently empty, units near the markets.

At the same time, the new markets are causing concern because of fewer customers than expected.

Several food stalls remain empty, and traders are being allowed to pay no rent for another three months to help them through the difficult period.

The positive picture is that a national cinema operator, The Light, has been signed up to anchor the complex alongside a two-storey Primark.

And deals are close for restaurants, said Mr Philips. “We are in solicitors’ hands on one of the restaurants, and we are almost at the stage of instructing solictors on two others. The restaurant interest has been very strong.”

Building contractors are due to be appointed in a couple of months.

n Missing market thousands, page 15.