Sheffield City Council has unveiled new plans to transform the heart of Sheffield city centre and significantly increase its ranking as a key performing retail centre in the UK.
A proposed £480 million scheme, designed by Leonard Design Architects, comprises approximately 900,000 sq. ft. of mixed use accommodation. The project is predominantly retail and leisure-led but also includes over 200,000 sq. ft. dedicated to residential and office space.
Nalin Seneviratne, director of capital & major projects at Sheffield City Council, said, “These new plans provide a navigable, varied and attractive new shopping district for Sheffield city centre.
“The design unites key retail pitches in the city centre from The Moor through to Fargate. This will consolidate an enhanced retail offer and also provide for food and beverage, office and residential to extend the attraction as an evening entertainment destination.”
The new venture aims to bring aspirational and contemporary retailers to an enhanced, street-based city centre district that is complimentary to Meadowhall.
Seneviratne added: “Sheffield Retail Quarter Fargate and The Moor will be the epicentre of retail and leisure in the centre of Sheffield, offering the pinnacle of mid-market and premium brands, along with an exciting array of leisure and catering destinations. The Devonshire Quarter will continue to be a breeding ground for exciting vintage and independent brands.”
Industry experts Harper Dennis Hobbs and Lunson Mitchenall are advising Sheffield City Council. Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs, said: “For decades, Sheffield city centre has experienced rising retail vacancy, falling retail sales and lack of investment. This was principally due to a lack of new retail space in the city, configured for modern retailer requirements.
“The Sheffield Retail Quarter will change all that, propelling the city 11 places up the retail rankings, and creating a true retail ‘circuit’ between Fargate and The Moor where there is currently a disconnect.
“There are considerable unsatisfied retailer requirements for the city and many operators currently trading in the city are doing so in undersized/sub-optimal units. The new scheme will satisfy these requirements, and address the issues of current undersupply in core retail categories such as fashion and dining.”
Research shows that Sheffield city centre is significantly undersupplied in terms of specific types of retail floorspace when measured against comparable city centres.
Sheffield has 32% less mid-market retail than the benchmark average, and 85% less upper mid-market retail. Specifically, both fashion and catering are significantly undersupplied, at 37% and 41% respectively.
This demonstrates a major lack of representation in what is the fourth largest city in the England, but also presents a very strong opportunity to attract operators that can benefit from £9bn in available spend from a catchment of 2.6 million people within a one hour drive time of the city, as well as the tens of thousands of people who work in the city centre.
Sheffield City Council is engaging with potential development partners to help deliver the new scheme during 2019 and expects to announce a partner later in the year.