The recommended developer for the Greyfriars site in Northampton town centre is to be decided by Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet next week (Wednesday September 7).
Back in July the borough council put two potential schemes for the former bus station land on show at the Guildhall, and called on members of the public to pick their favourite.
Cabinet members on the council will now be asked to approve the scheme put forward by Developer A (Scheme One) and to give authority for a contract to be concluded so the development can move ahead.
The preferred scheme proposes a mixture of retail, commercial, leisure and residential uses on the four acre site, including: a leisure hub with a new multiplex cinema of up to eight screens or family entertainment centre and trampolining facilities; casual dining restaurants; retail kiosks; residential flats to let; student apartments; retirement apartments; a health and fitness gym; a 110-bed hotel and a new coach station facility.
The two proposed schemes - both put forward by unnamed developers - were scored against a number of criteria, including their viability and their financial offer to the borough council.
Scheme Two had proposed 11 units for restaurants, wine bars and cafes and claimed to have already had interest from Deans Diner, Las Iguanas, Mimosa, All Bar One, Five Guys, Cosy Club, and more.
Scheme Two would have also featured a larger, 150-bed hotel, but a smaller four-screen cinema.
The council commissioned independent legal and commercial advice and met with both developers to discuss their proposals in detail, before recommending a preferred scheme.
Scheme One, was felt to have “a more viable leisure offer”, a council spokesperson said.
It was also felt to “propose better links with the Grosvenor Centre and the wider town centre”.
Councillor Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “We were impressed with both schemes but felt that this proposal would result in a particularly high quality development with great links to the Grosvenor Centre and through to the rest of the town.
“This decision will be an important step forward in our ongoing regeneration of the town through the Northampton Alive programme, which is driving growth and progress.”
If the proposal to accept Scheme One goes ahead, it is hoped a planning application could be submitted during March 2017. Cabinet will meet at 6pm on Wednesday September 7at the Guildhall.