China’s Sichuan Guodong Construction Group has inked a deal with the UK city of Sheffield (pictured) to invest up to £1bn ($1.3bn) over the next 60 years.
In what is one of the biggest investment deals outside of London, a number of projects are to be developed over the next few years, with the first few thought to involve work to get more visitors into the city centre, with more hotels, leisure and residential properties built.
The first tranche of funding in the agreement is worth around £220m and will fund four or five Sheffield city centre projects over the next three years, reports GCR’s sister title, Construction Manager.
The exact projects the investment will fund are yet to be determined and will be decided by the council in the near future.
Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: "This is a real partnership. The projects funded by this investment will be determined by Sheffield City Council, and the 60-year commitment secures a stream of investment into our city for the next generation, and means a whole range of projects become viable because of the long-term nature of the relationship."
It’s a statement of faith in our potential and should remove years of scepticism in one stroke– Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
The partnership deal was signed during a trade visit to Sheffield’s sister city of Chengdu.
Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, welcomed the news.
"This is the result of long, hard work by the City Council and other individuals and the whole region should applaud them for that," he said.
"These investments recognise that the city and its region are becoming a great place to invest and have the potential of being a game-changer for Sheffield.
"It’s not just the money, which is huge, but it’s a statement of faith in our potential and should remove years of scepticism in one stroke."
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Image: A tram in Sheffield’s centre, 2006 (PookieFugglestein/Wikimedia Commons)