First look inside flagship Forge Island

25.03.24 3 min read by Charlotte Kennedy

This week, we headed to Forge Island to give the project team and a future tenant a sneak peek inside the new leisure spaces at Forge Island, ahead of the development reaching practical completion in the spring.

We are delivering the landmark leisure destination in partnership with Rotherham Council and contractor, Bowmer + Kirkland.

Raife Gale, Senior Development Manager, took Council Leader Chris Read; Cllr Denise Lelliott, Cabinet member for Jobs and the Local Economy and Hamza Sayed, Operations Director of Thistle Group Holding – who are opening three food and drink eateries at Forge Island – to site for special ‘behind the scenes’ tour. This was an opportunity for a first look inside the buildings ahead of them being handed over to the tenants to begin their fit-outs in a few weeks’ time.

The family-friendly destination is set to add to Rotherham town centre’s foodie offering, with Thistle opening Portuguese and Southern African eatery, Casa Peri Peri, created by Masterchef finalist, Bobby Geetha; Estabulo Rodizio, a concept honouring the Gaucho style of cooking and luxury coffee shop Caffé Noor. Other Yorkshire independents coming to Forge Island also include The Rustic Pizza Co.

Forge Island will also include an 8-screen state-of-the-art boutique cinema, delivered by The Arc Cinema, alongside a 69-room Travelodge hotel, complemented by stunning public realm and a new riverside park. Hundreds of local people recently flocked to Rotherham Council’s annual recruitment fair to find about employment opportunities at Forge Island, who will become a substantial local employer once open creating around 100 jobs.

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.

Raife said;

It’s exciting to share with our partners the work that’s been going on inside these spaces: the project team have done an amazing job of keeping us on track to open this summer. We’re looking forward to handing over the keys to the new tenants so that they can begin their fit-out works and bring us even closer to realising Forge Island – which will soon be a new leisure destination for everyone to enjoy.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said:

“To see the development today rising up out of the old Forge Island site is really something and we’re firmly on track to putting a sense pride back into the town centre. This presents a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors to be part of one of the most attractive leisure destinations in the region. This site will offer high quality restaurants, a hotel on a scale of which has not been seen in the town centre before, and a new cinema bringing blockbuster movies back to the town centre for the first time in over 30 years. With spring having sprung, and summer round the corner. we’re on track and very much looking forward to celebrating an amazing launch.”

Hamza Sayed, Operations Director of Thistle Group Holding added:

“We are thrilled to introduce these new culinary experiences to the community. Each restaurant embodies our passion for food, service, and creating memorable dining experiences. We can’t wait to welcome guests and share our vision with them.”

Forge Island is due to open to the public in summer 2024. Further information and updates about the development is available here:

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