Flagship Forge Island leisure destination celebrates final topping out milestone

Rotherham’s transformative Forge Island leisure-led scheme is coming to fruition with a formal ceremony to mark the final ‘topping out’ milestone held on site last week.

The hotel and cinema building structures have now been completed and ‘topped out’ at the landmark destination. This is a key construction milestone for the flagship town centre scheme, which is being delivered on schedule in partnership with Rotherham Council, nationwide placemaker Muse and contractor, Bowmer + Kirkland.

Set to open to the public towards the end of summer 2024, Forge Island will include an 8-screen boutique cinema, delivered by The Arc, alongside a 69-room Travelodge Hotel. All commercial space has already been let with six independent restaurants confirmed including Sakku Samba, The Rustic Pizza Co and Estabulo. This will all be set within attractive and accessible public spaces, designed by re-form Landscape Architecture.

Together with Rotherham Markets, the improvements are a key part of Rotherham Council’s large-scale regeneration plans aimed at breathing new life into the heart of the borough.

Councillor Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council, said: “It’s just over a year since we broke ground and here we are topping out these amazing buildings with more exciting milestones to come. Forge Island is the single biggest investment in our town centre for decades and it’s successfully transforming a disused retail site into a landmark family-friendly destination we can all enjoy and be proud to have on our doorstep.”

Raife Gale, Senior Development Manager at Muse, added: “We’re thrilled to have reached this significant and very visual milestone that shows just how far this scheme has progressed over recent months. We have been working closely in partnership with the Council to create something special for the people of Rotherham and this will undoubtedly help to bring families into the town centre and enjoy it as a leisure destination once again.”

The Arc Cinema will be Rotherham’s first movie theatre in more than 30 years and is a major part of the Forge Island’s family-friendly offer.

Brian Gilligan, Director of The Arc Cinema, who attended the topping out, said: “We’re very excited to open on Forge Island later this year and it’s fantastic to be here today and see our cinema taking shape. The Arc Cinema is known for their top-class facilities and we’re proud to say that the new location at Forge Island will be no exception. We also place a strong emphasis on building personal connections within the community – which includes recruiting locally – and our aim is to create a meaningful place that belongs to the people of Rotherham just as much as it belongs to us.”

Tony O’Brien, Travelodge, UK Development Director added: “We can’t wait to open our new hotel later this year and it’s fantastic to witness this significant milestone in development. Rotherham is growing at pace and has one of the fastest growing economies in Yorkshire. Our 69-room Travelodge hotel will also have an on-site restaurant and car parking. With the railway station, the town centre amenities and Rotherham United’s AESSEAL New York Stadium within an easy walk, the Travelodge will be ideally located for business and leisure guests. This ground-breaking scheme is an excellent, new leisure destination that I’m sure will be of great benefit to the Rotherham community and visitors to the area for many years to come.”

Now that the external structures have completed, work will continue on the building facades ahead of the fit out of the independent food and beverage outlets, hotel and cinema complex in the spring and final works to the new public realm. The wider project team also includes Arup, Helm Consulting and Arcadis, with a new pedestrian bridge designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects.

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