John Lewis & Partners has agreed a new 20 year lease until 2040, with plans to refurbish the shop.
No developments with Sichuan Guodong now planned
Sheffield City Council has written to the chairman of Sichuan Guodong to inform them that the door to future business in the city remains open – despite the lack of progress on his proposals.
The council will work with Guodong and its chairman Mr Wang Chunming to identify other private-sector opportunities in the city if desired, but developments at West Bar and for a 5-star hotel in the Central Library building, first put forward three years ago, will not be taken forward and there are no future plans or projects likely to be considered.
Meanwhile, the council says it is very confident of strengthening its ties with China and taking forward other plans with other partners.
The Council is supporting the New Era Square development and continues to have the largest number of Chinese students outside London at its two world-leading Universities. Nearly half of the overseas students in Sheffield are from China with more than 4,000 students and numbers are growing, as are the number of Chinese communities based in the city.
And a recent private-sector funded delegation to China has led to new contacts and contracts being merged with the far east. There are also many other Chinese deals being considered across Sheffield.
During the last three years, Sichuan Guodong has undertaken feasibility studies, at its own expense, on a number of council-suggested schemes.
Unfortunately the schemes reviewed to-date have not met the investor’s viability requirements for investment.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “I would like to thank Sichuan Guodong for its strong enthusiasm and affection for Sheffield, strengthened by their own family ties here.
"I remain hopeful that Sheffield and Guodong can work together in the future. There are a large number of private sector schemes in Sheffield that Sichuan Guodong may wish to collaborate on and we will be happy to inform and advise them if them if any interest arises.
“We are now in a much stronger place in our relationship with China and understand better how Sheffield can work with Chinese investors on a range of business opportunities.
“I would like to sincerely thank Mr Wang and his team for the interest they have shown in the city. We have so many ties with China and these can only strengthen and lead to jobs and economic good fortune here in Sheffield.”
Sichuan Guodong has also been caught be increased restricts made by Chinese Central Government policy which has resulted in stricter investment criteria being applied to Chinese private companies wanting to invest in real estate projects outside mainland China.
Both parties acknowledge that significant amounts of pre-development work has been undertaken and that although this has not delivered the results that had been hoped for, Guodong remain open to working on future projects in Sheffield if the right investment opportunities can be found.
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