The £80m first phase of the retail and leisure-led development, a 200,000 sq ft shopping centre, is close to completion with a launch scheduled for 10 April.
The scheme is being brought forward by developer Genr8 Developments, Japanese firm Kajima and Rochdale Council, with Willmott Dixon as lead contractor.
M&S, which is scheduled to open four days before the launch on 6 April, is the anchor tenant at the TP Bennett-designed scheme and has signed to take 50,000 sq ft, while H&M will take 22,500 sq ft. Next has signed up for a 21,000 sq ft unit and River Island will take 9,000 sq ft over two floors.
Other retail tenants include Superdrug, Boots and JD Sport, while the food and drink offer features restaurants Nando’s, which has taken 3,500 sq ft, and Heavenly Desserts with 2,000 sq ft. Greggs bakery, plus an as-yet-unnamed national coffee shop outlet and an independent cafe and cocktail bar are also confirmed, according to the developer.
Talks with a national operator for one of the two remaining restaurant units are ongoing. All of the confirmed tenants are on site completing fit-outs, while Genr8 is fitting out three additional units it plans to let on short-term deals.
A six-screen Reel Cinema, including one theatre available to hire for private functions, is close to being completed and will form part of the official launch, while Puttstars, which is part of Hollywood Bowl Group, is to open in May becoming the third branch and the first in the North West.
The complex will also feature a 520-space car park.
Meanwhile, plans for phase two, which will start on site in 2021 after receiving £4m in funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, are being finalised. They include upwards of 200 residential units, offices and a hotel.
Additionally, the former M&S building is to be redeveloped to form a mixed-use scheme with accompanying public realm connecting Rochdale Riverside with Yorkshire Street.
Mike Smith, partner at Genr8, told Place North West: “We want to bring people in to Rochdale. Riverside is not intended to compete with the Arndale and the Trafford Centre. It is for the people of Rochdale so they don’t have to make those journeys as often.
“It is all about delivery and we can say we have done that. Not just here but in Stoke and Halifax, too.”
John Searle, director of economy at Rochdale Council, said: “The high street retailers were missing but now we are giving those retailers what they want.
“It is an out-of-town scheme in the town centre but it is not all about retail, there is a lot of leisure. Previously, there was no evening economy [here]. This is just one piece of the wider generation of Rochdale.”
Cheetham & Mortimer and Lyons Thompson Letts are joint letting agents on Rochdale Riverside.
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