Full planning approval was granted today for delivery of the first significant phase of the much-anticipated new West Bar mixed use development.
The positive decision means that construction of this important scheme can start within the next few months, on completion of the ongoing demolition. The reserved matters approval kickstarts regeneration of the seven-acre disused site to provide much needed new Grade A office accommodation (incorporating ancillary retail / leisure uses), residential apartments, and high-quality public realm.
Scheme developer, Urbo (West Bar) Ltd, a joint venture between Urbo Regeneration and Peveril Securities (the development arm of the Bowmer and Kirkland Group) has already secured the £150 million funding to deliver the first phase from Legal & General in the largest single private sector investment deal Sheffield has ever seen.
Ultimately the partnership plans to deliver a £300 million mixed use destination that is expected to create around 6,000 – 8,000 new jobs as well as supporting Sheffield’s major housing needs.
Phase one includes the development of No.1 West Bar Square, a new 100,000 sq ft office building with ground floor retail and leisure space. It delivers against much needed Grade A employment space, with floor plates suitable for large scale occupiers. It will also deliver Soho Yard comprising 368 Build to Rent residential apartments. On completion of the project as a whole, West Bar will provide approximately one acre of public realm and green space extending the Council’s hugely successful grey to green and SUDS transformation. The first phase at West Bar will also provide nearly 300 cycle storage spaces and connectivity into the surrounding walking and cycling routes as part of a push for multi-modal travel.
Designed by award winning architects 5plus with planning advice from Asteer Planning, No.1 West Bar Square will be an impressive and sustainable gateway building to the wider West Bar regeneration project. Accessible from Corporation Street, a contemporary curved exterior design to the building will create an inviting entrance to adjacent public realm and the development beyond. Rising eight storeys with retail accommodation at ground floor, the upper levels will provide highly efficient floorplates up to 14,000 sq ft and a roof terrace offering panoramic views across the city. Urbo will also create West Bar Square, the landscaped focal point of the project, which will provide much needed amenity space to the occupiers of West Bar scheme and the adjacent Riverside Business Park.
Soho Yard offers 368 residential apartments within two buildings situated around a landscaped space and gardens with access via Plum Lane. The properties will be delivered and operated by Legal & General as part of its highly successful ‘Build to Rent – Homes for Life’ portfolio. It sits on the site of the famous ‘Soho wheel’ that powered grinding machinery near the River Don after the Industrial Revolution.
Legal & General is using its varied long-term sources of capital to support a UK wide job creation agenda, reshaping the urban landscape, and providing the significant investment needed to help cities adapt, change and innovate. It is committed to investing in Sheffield and to supporting its post-crisis growth ambitions, where it recognises the high potential that the city has to offer.
As part of the redevelopment, car parking overall at West Bar will be reduced from current numbers to promote sustainable travel and reduce traffic whilst also providing new electric charging points alongside low emission vehicle spaces. A separate planning application for a new, 450 space multi-storey car park which will also form part of Phase One and will be submitted shortly.
Phase two plans for West Bar include a second Legal & General-funded, 100,000 sq. ft. office building, , with further phases ultimately providing 1 million sq ft of mixed-use accommodation, of which over 500,000 sq ft will be Grade A office space offering the largest floor plates in Sheffield city centre.
West Bar enjoys a prominent position on the Inner Ring Road between the booming Kelham Island district and Sheffield’s Cathedral and Castlegate Quarters. It has already received outline planning consent and the current ‘reserved matters’ application is fully in line with previously agreed parameters and planning conditions.
Peter Swallow, Managing Director at Urbo, said, “We have been working closely with Sheffield City Council and other key stakeholders for many years to bring forward this important regeneration scheme and we are delighted to secure full planning consent to be able to move forward with construction.
“No.1 West Bar Square delivers against evidenced demand for large footprint, High quality modern office accommodation that currently lacking in Sheffield city centre. It complements the existing West Bar neighbourhood which already boasts key office occupiers including the Home Office, top 50 law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Crown and Family Courts.”
Ralph Jones, Managing Director at Peveril Securities, said, “West Bar, along with the commitment by Legal & General to invest £150m for the first phase, is testament to the strength of Sheffield as a considerable powerhouse in the North and an attractive place to live and work.”
“Our vision for West Bar is to deliver a much-needed new quarter for the centre of Sheffield, delivering on the city’s housing, jobs and regeneration needs with up to 1 million sq ft of vibrant new mixed-use space along with fantastic public realm for all to enjoy. Achieving planning consent is a major milestone and will enable us to realise this vision.”
Ben Rodgers, Head of Regeneration at Legal & General commented: “Creating vibrant towns and cities is key to Britain’s economic growth and prosperity. Sheffield has been on a journey over the last 40 years, from industrial decline to steady growth, and now is looking to invest for the future and strengthen its position as a leading UK city. We are excited to be bringing this important scheme forward to meet this ambition and look forward to continuing to work with the council, Urbo and local residents to deliver modern and fit-for-purpose office space which responses to local needs.”
Urbo is advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate.