Marks & Spencer has signed a prelet for 50,000 sq ft and Next for 22,000 sq ft at Genr8 Developments’ town centre project in Rochdale.
M&S has completed an agreement to relocate to a new store close to its current store in the town, more than doubling its retail sales floorspace. Next is currently unrepresented in Rochdale.
This represents the latest phase of major investment in the town following completion of the council headquarters at No.1 Riverside, the new transport interchange linking buses and Metrolink trams into the heart of the town centre.
A spokesman for Next commented: “We have been waiting for a long time for the right opportunity for representation in Rochdale. We think Genr8’s town centre proposals are really exciting and we’re delighted to confirm that Next are about to complete on a major store of more than 22,000 sq ft. We are confident that Genr8’s proposals will not only form a comprehensive, sustainable retail and leisure destination previously lacking in the town but will also ultimately reverse leakage and reposition Rochdale in the retail hierarchy.”
The scheme has been designed by TP Bennett Architects and will link the historic retail core of Yorkshire Street, Wheatsheaf Centre and Exchange Shopping Centre with new public realm, complementing the major investment recently initiated by Rochdale Council which is reopening the formerly culverted River Roch to public view.
Mike Smith, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in the town and represents a major step forward. The scheme will be very much mixed use in nature – both leisure and retail – and we are now into the stage of detailed design that will result in a planning application in the next few months and a start on site in 2016.
“We are delighted that both M&S and Next are confirming their commitment and we will be making further announcements in the next few weeks. Rochdale is going from strength to strength. Through our partnership with the Council we aim to deliver a retail and leisure environment which will be a magnet for both occupiers and consumers.”
Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council, said: “This is a really momentous day and the start of the re-birth of Rochdale town centre. It is the result of a lot of people working incredibly hard to make it happen and I hope it will at last convince people that Rochdale is serious when it says ‘we are on the up’. There is already a strong retail district in Rochdale but the Town Centre East development means we are going to have a completely new offer with lots of new big name shops that will make it even bigger and better.”
Letting agent Cheetham & Mortimer said talks are ongoing with a number of additional occupiers.