Rochdale Borough Council is celebrating the success of the Rochdale Riverside scheme as it approaches the first anniversary of its opening.
The flagship shopping and leisure development first opened its doors on 6 April 2020, with M&S selling food as an essential retailer and other essential retailers, like Boots and Superdrug, opening their doors soon after.
Since then, despite a challenging year of lockdowns, the scheme, which has been delivered by Genr8 and Kajima in partnership with the council and Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), has signed up 5 new occupiers, with more set to be announced soon.
5 new occupiers have signed up to the scheme since the pandemic started
Council leader, Allen Brett, said: "Rochdale Riverside opened at an incredibly challenging time, but this first year has gone better than we could have ever imagined and to sign 5 new occupiers during a global pandemic, which has lain waste to much of the high street, is nothing short of incredible.
"Loaded Burgers, Greggs, Crust Pizza, Daniel Christian Menswear and The Works are all fantastic additions to the Riverside offer which I'm sure will be enjoyed by our residents and visitors once they can open safely later in the spring and summer."
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for a thriving economy and RDA board member, added: "As well as creating a really vibrant shopping and leisure offer in the heart of the town centre, which complements other businesses, including our many independents, the Riverside scheme also brings wider benefits. The scheme, which also includes Nandos, is expected to generate £1.4 million a year in business rates revenue when full, which then helps support other services, and it's created local jobs.
"Rochdale Riverside is currently 87% let and we're finalising talks with other potential occupiers which would take it to 92%. This development will play a vital role in Rochdale's post-coronavirus recovery and continue to boost the town centre for many years after that."
The scheme's non-essential retailers will open, as per government guidance, on 12 April
While M&S, Superdrug and Boots are already trading as essential retailers, the scheme's other retail stores, including H&M, Next, The Works, JD Sports and Daniel Christian Menswear are set to reopen, as per government guidance, on 12 April 2021. Independent coffee shop, Bean is aiming to reopen for takeaway soon, while the brand new Greggs bakery is scheduled to open in early April, also for takeaway.
Reel Cinema, Puttstars mini golf, Heavenly Desserts are set to reopen on 17 May 2021, in line with the national roadmap, alongside brand new Italian restaurant, Crust Pizza, which will be making its debut in Rochdale.
'Visitors will see some new additions, like Crust Pizza, opening this summer'
Rachel Byrne, centre manager at Rochdale Riverside, said: "Riverside's essential retailers have played a key role supporting local shoppers with essential purchases throughout this really difficult time, while other businesses, including Heavenly Desserts, have adapted by providing takeaway and delivery services.
"We're really looking forward to being able to showcase more of what this fabulous scheme has to offer as the easing of lockdown continues and we're particularly excited that shoppers will see brand new places, like Crust Pizza, have also opened up once they start returning to their normal shopping and leisure routines.
"All of our usual safety measures will remain in place, with hand sanitiser freely available throughout the site and enhanced cleaning taking place, particularly around touchpoints. We're also asking people to continue to wear face coverings inside our shops and venues."