Four teams of developers have been selected by Rochdale Development Agency to compete for the chance to redevelop the heart of the Lancashire town.
A £100m mixed-use project combining retail and health facilities, better public spaces, a new bus station and 200,000 sq ft of municipal offices is expected to be delivered by 2012.
The shortlisted developers are:
- Artisan Property Group and Neptune Developments
- Ask Property Developments and Sultan Properties
- Valad Property Group
- Wilson Bowden Developments
The four will create detailed plans for regenerating the eastern part of the town centre for public consultation before the end of this year.
Their designs will show proposals for creating a new retail heart and transforming the River Roch frontage into a fashionable district with new cafes, restaurants, apartments and offices. A final selection will be announced in March 2008.
The delivery timetable thereafter is as follows:
- Two new health centres (in Deeplish, and Wardleworth & Hamer) open by 2009. Penn Street Health Centre will be demolished, to make way for new development opportunities.
- New bus station completed by spring 2010 – with the old one demolished in the same year.
- 200,000 sq ft municipal office open by the end of 2010 – to accommodate council employees and a new multi-agency shop.
- First new retail stores in the town centre open by end of 2012
John Hudson, chief executive of the RDA, unveiling the shortlist at the RDA annual conference, said: "Rochdale town centre is being reborn. The scale of change planned allows us to go back to the drawing board and think about what can make our town centre work for all of us today – shoppers, workers and people who will want to live there. A whole range of partners are working together to make this a collective success.
"Between now and 2012 local people will see the pace of change accelerate. There will be a new focus on the riverside as well as flagship buildings and a new retail core. Much of this work will focus on redeveloping the east of the town centre, where there is big potential to attract new private investment, and create a more attractive public area."
Work is already underway in some parts of the town centre. The first phase of a project to improve Yorkshire Street with new street furniture, lighting and paving will be finished by the end of November this year. An additional £180,000 of funding has been approved this month to extend the works further up Yorkshire Street.
Meanwhile, construction of a new health centre on Maclure Road, Deeplish has begun. And demolition work to get the river-side site for the new £11.5m transport interchange ready for construction has been completed.