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Monday 09 October 2017

A 'New Era' kind of Chinatown

For anyone who has visited Sheffield recently, they will likely have noticed the 20 storey tower that has sprung up and dominated the city's skyline around Saint Mary's Gate.

This tower belongs to Phase 1 of the £65 million New Era Development, which has been taking shape over the past two years.

New Era Square will feature three core elements: The Square surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafes; 600 luxury student flats and the China-UK Business Incubator. Together these three elements will transform that part of the city, which has previously been under-used, into Sheffield's very first Chinatown.

Leading the project is managing director and alumnus Jerry Cheung whose vision for a modern Chinatown, providing an inclusive hub for celebration, multiculturalism and business, has been in the pipeline for more than 10 years. 

He said: "I see New Era Square providing a place for synergy in the city - a place to bring the community together, a place for international food, drink and music. I want it to be a space enjoyed by the whole of Sheffield's community where diversity is celebrated." 

Since he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1984, Jerry Cheung has retained strong links with Sheffield Hallam University. He has been a member of the Sheffield Business School advisory board since its launch and has worked closely with academics in the Business School on the development of the China-UK Business Incubator (CUBI) - a crucial part of the development project.

The CUBI will provide a one-stop-shop to assist Chinese businesses setting up a presence in the UK. It will also be a regional hub for local businesses who want to explore opportunities in China. 

Jerry believes the success of the CUBI will contribute greatly to Sheffield’s economy to help make the city a better place to live, work and study. He said: "The China-UK Business Incubator will be a big attraction for Chinese students and alumni wishing to stay in Sheffield and develop their business ideas. With all of the partners involved in New Era, including the council, Sheffield Hallam and The University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce as well as many others, the CUBI has a massive knowledge base which will be invaluable to any budding or established entrepreneur.

"A quarter of the world's population lives in China; to have the CUBI act as a window between this massive market and Sheffield is a huge opportunity for the city."

New Era welcomed its first student residents in September with another cohort scheduled to move-in January 2018. The whole project is due for completion by Autumn 2019.


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