September has been a particularly productive month with lots of encouraging long-term investments being made and some large-scale developments moving forward.
The month began with the announcement of the next two blocks of the transformative Heart of the City II scheme which covers 1.5 million square feet of the city centre. This brand new mixed-use scheme will incorporate a wide range of retail, commercial and residential space along with the sort of high-end hotels, leisure facilities and public spaces which the city needs more of. By sticking to the existing street layout and revamping it, it is hoped that the overall positive feel of the city will not be retained and enhanced for the benefit of all. Sheffield city centre has been crying out for this sort of redevelopment for a long time and it is already clear Heart of the City II will be a boost for the city.
Another significant development in Sheffield is the £65m new ‘Chinatown’ development called New Era Square which is being developed by businessman Jerry Cheung who has now revealed plans for a China UK Business Incubator (CUBI) in Sheffield. The CUBI is the culmination of a 13-year dream for Cheung and it will help UK and China-based business trade more easily by helping with language, cultural, business and translation assistance. Sheffield is a city which attracts a lot of Chinese interest, as the presence of the Chinese vice consul at the launch of CUBI shows, and anything which smooths the path for future investment from the Far East is sure to help the Sheffield economy grow.
However it is not only developments within the city of Sheffield which are drawing people in – there is also much to be impressed with outside the city. The Meadowhall shopping centre is already one of the biggest drivers of growth in the region and the area might well become even more productive in the near future with the development of a huge new industrial complex which could create 5,000 jobs. This new complex on a derelict site in the Lower Don Valley will be designed to achieve the twin purpose of allowing existing firms in nearby business parks to expand and provide an environment to help new businesses flourish.
A statement from British Land, the company planning the development, said: “advanced manufacturing and the health-related sectors are booming locally in an area increasingly referred to as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, with its primary focus around Waverley in Rotherham, Sheffield Business Park and the Lower Don Valley where the RDD is located.
The final major piece of good news from the Sheffield City Region in September comes from Doncaster where the iPort Rail strategic freight terminal was officially opened this month. Located on a 30 acre site, the terminal is designed to take advantage of the central position South Yorkshire enjoys and more easily enable national and international freight transport. Located next to the M18 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport, this is the UK’s most advanced multimodal logistics hub and is expected to support 5,000 jobs in the area.
The interesting thing for people looking for the next booming UK city to invest in is that this was not an unusual month for Sheffield. The city is constantly innovating and is turning itself into one of the UK’s major investment destinations – and in turn it is creating the jobs, opportunity and lifestyle which is appealing to a new generation of renters. It is no surprise that so many people are moving to the city and we expect that this trend will continue far into the future. Now is the perfect time to invest in South Yorkshire.