Genr8 Developments and Rochdale Council have completed an £80m funding deal with M&G Investments to enable delivery of the Rochdale Riverside scheme.
In a further boost to the development, Boots, River Island and JD Sports have collectively taken space totalling 32,000 sq ft, deals that take Riverside to more than 60% let ahead of work starting on site.
The development, which will be delivered by a joint venture between Genr8 and Kajima, comprises 200,000 sq ft of retail and leisure accommodation. M&G has agreed a 250-year lease on the site and will grant a 35-year sublease back to the council on completion of the scheme. Rental income will be used to pay back the £80m over that period.
The retail deals will see Boots spend more than £1.5m on a store that will sell luxury brands alongside its usual product lines. River Island will invest £1m in a two-level store, while JD Sports, which has its main international distribution hub at Rochdale’s Kingsway business park, will open a unit almost three times the size of its existing Rochdale store.
Other pre-let tenants include Next and M&S, the latter of which is currently trying to get out of its agreement to take space in the scheme. In November the retailer issued a statement saying it would not be relocating, however Rochdale Council have maintained a firm position and are insisting that M&S stick to its deal.
Speaking to Place North West, Steve Rumbelow, Rochdale Council’s chief executive, said: “Rochdale Riverside is the final, £80m part of a £250m investment in the area. The new occupiers and the investment fund we are announcing shows the momentum behind the project.
“Regarding M&S, it’s clear there is a cast iron lease in place, and our expectation is that they do the right thing and stick to it. We try to do business properly and fairly, and we expect our partners to do the same.”
According to Rumbelow, there is another deal with a retail occupier currently in legals, and talks underway to secure brands for the six restaurant and cafe units. “Pushing the evening economy” was a big priority for the council, he said.
Rochdale Riverside will also include a six-screen Reel cinema. Archaeological investigations are currently in progress on site and it is expected that construction will start shortly thereafter.
Mike Smith, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “This significant investment is a huge boost for Rochdale and for the scheme, which will play a significant role in the continued regeneration of the borough.”
Shailendra Shah, investment director at M&G Real Estate, added: “We are extremely pleased to be working with the council and Genr8 on this scheme which will transform Rochdale town centre. This is an excellent example of where our pension fund client capital can be used to kickstart regeneration schemes.”