Involved Partners: Developer name: Rochdale Borough Council/Realm/Genr8 

This entry is an example of the pragmatic partnership skills required in modern shopping destination. Borrowing from the outlet model of turnover rent and proactive hands-on management, tenants are brand partners. The marketing budget was slashed by 90% and launch events were cancelled so the management team took on the challenge to launch the scheme through word of mouth, delivering an human experience with a smile and personality. We celebrated store openings digitally by filming tours on our own smartphones and made sure our lovely scheme was celebrated and enjoyed by locals with murals, cost neutral vegan and artisan fayres, civic light trails, dance events and support of charitable causes.

With no advertising budget we made sure our posters and signage raised a smile and had some personality. Two years on and we still haven’t had a launch party but we are now 95% let and have a social following of 10,000. Void units have been given to community use with exhibitions, recruitment fairs and stakeholder activity. We increased visitors to Rochdale town centre from 5.0 million to 7.1 million per annum. Footfall at the scheme has grown steadily, currently averaging 3,000 visitors a day. Rochdale Riverside is on track to increase overall annual retail expenditure in Rochdale town centre by around £150m, an increase of just over 100%.

The scheme has resulted in an additional £35m per annum Gross Value Added for Rochdale with 1,450 jobs and a Gross Value Added of around £22m will be created by the scheme over a five year period. The two year construction phase of the scheme resulted in significant social value benefits including 40% of spend and labour being from the Rochdale area.

We promote sustainable life choices with sustainable fast fashion brands, electric car charging and a 100% onsite recycling rate.


“This Riverside development has helped transform Rochdale town centre and has proved a hit with residents, with visitor numbers steadily climbing, despite the obvious challenges faced by high streets up and down the country this past year. “The scheme has already created a number of jobs for local people and will play a major role in our borough’s Covid recovery, as well as continuing to boost our economy in the much longer term”

John Blundell – Councillor