Workers celebrated a major milestone on Forge Island this week with popcorn and deckchairs as the shells of the cinema and hotel completed on the flagship development.
With all buildings on site now being erected, residents are now counting down the months to the grand opening in the summer.
Forge Island is being delivered by teams from Rotherham Council, nationwide placemaker Muse and contractor, Bowmer + Kirkland. During the topping out event –which marks the last beam being placed on top a structure during its construction – builders enjoyed the sweet success of completing the final building on site.
Once fitted out, the building will host an 8-screen boutique cinema operated by The Arc Cinema. It will also be the first cinema in the heart of Rotherham for more than 30 years and will be a major part of 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.”
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 will provide residents from across Rotherham with a family-friendly destination they can enjoy and be proud to have on their 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 cinema will sit beside a 69-roomed Travelodge Hotel as well as six independent restaurants on the riverside, including The Rustic Pizza Company, Estabulo, and Sakku Samba.
Tony O’Brien, Travelodge, UK Development Director said: “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."
Forge Island is due to open to the public later in 2024. For further information and updates about the development, go online to www.newforgeisland.co.uk.