Work has begun to redevelop the former Co-op department store on Elder Way, Chesterfield.
The £10.5 million redevelopment by Jomast Developments is part of the Northern Gateway project led by Chesterfield Borough Council.
The store has been empty since closing in July 2013.
When completed, the building will include:
• Seven ground floor family restaurants and bars
• A 92 bedroom Premier Inn hotel on the first and second floors
• A health and fitness centre in the basement
Adam Hearld, commercial director, Jomast Developments, said: “This has been a difficult and complex project to get off the ground and having resolved a number of pre development issues we are now delighted to be able to start on what we believe will be an exciting and vibrant leisure scheme in the heart of the town centre.
“We are anticipating completing the comprehensive refurbishment of the former Co-op building in September 2018 with the Premier Inn, bars, restaurants and gym opening to the public shortly afterwards.
“The council’s environmental improvements on Elder Way and Knifesmithsgate will complement our scheme by enhancing the setting to this significant investment in Chesterfield Town Centre. We will co-ordinate our development programme with the council throughout 2018.
“These proposals together with the redeveloped multi storey car park and wider plans for Northern Gateway will be critical in revitalising this part of Chesterfield town centre to provide a really exciting environment for people to visit, stay, eat, drink and work in.”
Chesterfield Borough Council has supported the private sector companies in the development by gaining a £5.83 million grant from the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund for landscaping improvements to Elder Way and Knifesmithgate which will benefit the Co-op development and the wider Northern Gateway scheme.
Funding is also being sought for further environmental improvements to connect Saltergate with the heart of the town centre.
The existing Saltergate multi-storey car park will also be redeveloped by the council in a multi-million scheme to provide safe, secure 24 hour parking for people using the hotel, restaurants and local shops.
Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Chesterfield Borough Council’s deputy leader, said: “The Northern Gateway scheme is no longer a plan on a piece of paper, it is a reality.
“From here on the pace of the project will grow as the redevelopment of the former Co-op building will be followed in a few months by us starting work to demolish and replace the Saltergate multi-storey car park, before moving on to other parts of the scheme.
“The old Co-op is a dominant building in the town centre and it has been difficult to see it closed over the past few years. Seeing work start to bring it back in to use gives the town a real confidence boost.
“The growth of Internet shopping is causing hard times on high streets up and down the country but as people see work progress on this building they will see the northern side of the town centre coming back to life. The customers of this development will support existing town centre shops and help encourage other retailers to open shops to replace those that have closed down.”
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, added: “The start of work on transforming the former Co-op building on Elder Way is a major step forward in the development of Northern
Gateway and the regeneration of the town centre.
“Chesterfield is going through some very exciting times and the redevelopment of the Co-op building is just one of a number of development opportunities that are now coming to fruition which will change the face of the town better so that it is equipped for the future.
“It is a key development in helping increase the vitality of the town centre as well as preparing Chesterfield to take full advantage of the opportunities that the HS2 station will bring with it.”
The wider Northern Gateway scheme will see an enterprise zone for small and medium sized businesses on part of the site of Holywell Cross (Donut) car park and refurbishment of the existing Saltergate multi-storey car park.
It is estimated the scheme will create around 500 jobs.
Words: Chesterfield Borough Council
Pictures: Chesterfield Borough Council