Published: 10:55, 21 May 2021
| Updated: 14:37, 21 May 2021
Council bosses are in advanced negotiations with potential tenants planning to open at the £115 million leisure complex in Canterbury.
Of the dozen units being built at The Riverside project in Kingsmead - which is hoped to transform the western side of the city - terms have so far been agreed with three suitors.
Another three are in active negotiation, with contracts close to being signed.
It means about half of the commercial units - which are set to include restaurants, shops and bars - look likely to be filled upon the site’s launch later this year.
The city’s second Curzon cinema, with its five large screens, is already confirmed as being the flagship tenant of the long-awaited development.
The council says building work is on schedule to be complete this autumn, and then the units will be kitted out by the operators.
Authority spokesman Rob Davies said: “Currently we have three of the units, with agreed terms, that are at the legal stage.
“A further three are in active negotiation and are close to entering the legal phase. We are, though, continuing to market all the units except those that are under offer, which is standard practice.
“We are still on target for practical completion of the commercial units, and handing over to us, in the autumn. As we’ve said before, there will then be a period of tenant fit out time.
“We know there is public interest in who the various operators will be - this scheme has generally received a lot of public support - and we hope to be able to announce some in the next month or two, subject to the legal arrangements being concluded.”
Council chiefs have previously told the Gazette how they are aiming to steer clear of the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King as they opt to secure eateries where “people need cutlery”.
It is thought the tenants will be a mixture of well-known brands and local businesses.
Aside from the commercial element, student accommodation comprising 493 beds will be built at the site, along with 189 homes and a 200-space undercroft car park.
Mr Davies says the homes aspect of the scheme is pressing ahead.
He added: “The residential contractor, Jenner, has now taken control of and started on the first of the two residential sites. The second residential site is due for handover to Jenner at the end of this month. The student element of the scheme is on track for the September intake.”