The big four supermarket operators have expressed interest in occupying Muller's £40m Sandbach scheme, the developer said as it submitted a planning application to Cheshire East Council.
The proposal includes a 40,000 sq ft net food store with petrol filling station, 50,000 sq ft garden centre, drive-thru restaurants, 62-bed Premier Inn hotel, Marston's pub and parking for 840 cars. There would be up to 25,000 sq ft of trade counter business units. The site is located next to the town's only other main supermarket, Waitrose.
Muller called Old Mill Quarter 'a natural extension to the town centre' 200 metres away.
A shopper survey commissioned by Muller and conducted by NEMS in May 2012 concluded that 48% of Sandbach residents travelled outside of the town to do their weekly food shop, equal to £17m a year in lost convenience trade. Around 80% of residents bought their petrol in locations away from the town. Only 24% of comparison-shopping was retained in Sandbach, with the loss of £63m outside the area.
Colin Muller, chief executive, said: "Old Mill Quarter will not only deliver the shops and services that so many local residents have said they would like to see in the town, but also create 600 new jobs, something that is badly needed in the current economic climate.
"I believe that this scheme is desperately needed to stem the loss of trade from Sandbach, generate new business for existing retailers and create new jobs for the town. This is a major investment in the current property climate but is a real development scheme, underwritten by named occupiers which can be delivered by Muller over the next two years. We are working closely with the council to ensure this level of financial investment in Cheshire East is recognised.
"It will ensure the long-term survival of Sandbach as a vibrant and attractive market town for local residents and visitors.
"I also think that this application is very much aligned with the current Government's policies of reviving the economy though growth and positive economic activity."