A development agreement for a £275 million regional shopping centre in Stoke-on-Trent city centre has been given the go ahead.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet today approved the contract with developer Realis Estates.
Under the terms of the agreement, Realis Estates will take forward the development of a new department store, a wide range of new shops, cafÃƒ©s, restaurants, vibrant public spaces, a multi-screen cinema, an hotel and improved parking.
Realis Estates and the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership (NSRP) will also establish a joint venture arrangement to build a modern bus station and will work together to build the main shopping centre development.The current bus station stands on the East West Centre redevelopment site.
Under the agreement the NSRP will have the option of procuring the development of the proposed new city centre bus station before work begins on the shopping centre.
This innovative arrangement will mean work on the bus station can take place, subject to funding agreements.
Design, planning and procurement of contractors for the bus station is to take place during 2010 and early 2011. Construction work will follow on and is expected to be complete in mid 2012.
A budget of between £13m and £15m has been set for the new bus station. Funding of £4.5m has been committed from Realis Estates under the development agreement. Further funding is expected from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, while the NSRP is also seeking funding from Advantage West Midlands.
Designed by internationally renowned architects Benoy, the redeveloped East West Centre will provide 75,000 square metres of floor space, revitalise Stoke-on-Trent city centre and tempt shoppers back from cities such as Manchester and Birmingham. It is forecast that the new development will create thousands of new jobs as well as providing a significant and sustained boost to the local economy.
Realis Estates and Stoke-on-Trent City Council will now work together to assemble all the land needed for the shopping centre. This is likely to include the use of compulsory purchase orders. Realis Estates will also seek detailed planning permission and continue to identify potential tenants. Realis Estates anticipates the redeveloped centre will open in late 2014.
Realis Estates has already invested £30m in site assembly and preparation for the new East West Centre.
Councillor Brian Ward, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for regeneration and board member of the NSRP, said:
“The signing of the development agreement is a sign of confidence in Stoke-on-Trent, despite the recession. “The retail and property world are in tough times right now, but we are preparing for the upturn by agreeing this major scheme that will help transform our city centre into a truly regional destination. “Under the deal with have done we will get the new bus station built, subject to securing funding, by mid 2012, and at the same time continue to prepare the way for the main shopping centre.”
Duncan Mathieson, Managing Director of Realis Estates, said:
“This is another important step forward in the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent City Centre. Today’s announcement reiterates our commitment to the project, which will create thousands of new jobs and bring much-needed investment to the area. We will continue to press ahead with our plans and look forward to maintaining our partnership with the city council. Getting the bus station built first will help get the project moving and create the confidence needed in the future of Stoke-on-Trent.”
Henriette Lyttle, partnerships director at Advantage West Midlands, said:
“The new East West shopping centre and bus station are important to job creation and the development of Stoke-on-Trent city centre. “We will continue to work with the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership to bring forward the key developments that will transform the area’s economy.”