New £65m mixed-use project planned to promote trade with China & create 400 jobs

Sheffield City Council is to consider plans from New Era Development UK for a £65m project that will promote trade with China and create 400 jobs at a new retail, office and exhibition hall.

A consortium of six investors from China is behind the project, working closely with New Era Development, the company behind the plans. New Era Square will include retail units, food and drink outlets on the ground floor, leading to an open air square for events.

There will be office space, an exhibition hall, around 700 student accommodation units, and a core feature of the development, the China Business Incubator (CBI), which investors are confident will provide a “fantastic” opportunity for businesses.

Jerry Cheung, managing director of New Era Development, said: “The investors from China are key business individuals and are very keen to promote and showcase the incubator facility. This will offer a fantastic opportunity for any business looking to break into the Chinese market. It will also provide businesses in China with a UK entry through Sheffield.

“We are very excited about the CBI. But it will only work if the city pulls together. We are enthusiastic about it but we can’t make it work by ourselves. We can initiate it and use our contacts in China but importantly the business sector, private sector, and universities need to come together to work in a cohesive manner. The reward could be massive not only for our city, but for our region.”

Cheung said the Council, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, the LEP and others are coming together to form a steering group for the CBI to take it forward. Cheung believes the CBI will be a way of attracting businesses to Sheffield, rather than elsewhere in the UK.

One of the investors from China is JianFei Qin. “Chinese and UK companies have a lot to complement each other,” he said.

“The CBI will make it much easier for Chinese investors to enter the UK market and help more Chinese investors come to the UK. We are constantly looking for good investment opportunities and the New Era Development is the first step of investment in the UK. As investors, we hope to create trusting relationships here and we will consider investing more in South Yorkshire.”

The 20-storey scheme is set to create 400 new jobs once construction has been completed. Work is due to start early next year and aims to be completed by summer 2016.