THE Moor in Sheffield was once regarded as one of Yorkshire’s premier shopping centres, until its fortunes declined due to the recession and sluggish development schemes.
Now the area is on course for a spectacular revival, thanks to a long-term regeneration scheme that has brought some of the biggest names in retailing to South Yorkshire.
Ranald Philips, the director of Ashcroft, who is the development manager for The Moor, has confirmed that the first retail phase of the redevelopment scheme is close to being fully let.
Fashion retailer Peacocks and fashion shoe retailer Deichmann are the latest names to reveal they are moving into Phase 1 of The Moor. Terms have also been agreed with a new gym operator. Phase 2, which includes a new retail and leisure development in the central area of The Moor, is due to open in 2016.
It will include a flagship store for Primark, four other shops and a new leisure hub, which will include a cinema and restaurants.
Mr Philips confirmed that The Moor is owned by a major UK-based investment fund, which has declined to be named. He estimated that the total investment in The Moor over five years would be around £100m.
He added: “Historically, it was one of Sheffield’s prime shopping locations, The plans for The Moor are coming to fruition. Phase 1 was completed in 2014. We have only got a couple of small retail units left and there has been a lot of interest in them.”
Mr Philips said the developers were keen to add a leisure element to The Moor, because it will help to create an evening economy “otherwise the place dies at 5.30pm”.
He added: “We have always recognised the potential for Sheffield city centre, and the time and investment required to bring its retail and leisure offering to a standard the UK’s fourth largest city deserves.
“We have invested in improving the public realm, and our contemporary retail space is generating growing interest from major retailers and leisure operators.”
He said the Phase 2 restaurants were in demand and he hoped to bring “new eating concepts” to Sheffield.
He added: “Working closely with Sheffield City Council we can plan and manage how The Moor integrates with the city masterplan and New Retail Quarter, in particular.”
The developers have also introduced a theatre company – Theatre Delicatessen – on a short-term let in a space vacated by Woolworths. Bowmer & Kirkland, the contractor for the Phase 2 development, has already started work on the site.
Coun Leigh Bramall, the cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “I am glad to see that new leisure and retail businesses are moving into The Moor.
“The regeneration of The Moor, from the improved public realm to the opening of retail units and the Moor Market, is all helping to breathe new life into this part of the city centre.”