Champion of the Week
Meet our Champion of the Week: Mark Hill, Commercial Property Director of Jomast Developments
I am Mark Hill, Commercial Property Director of Jomast Developments which is the owner and developer of the former Co-op department store building on Elder Way.
Jomast bought the building in 2016 and it is the company’s first development in Derbyshire. Since purchasing the landmark building, we’ve worked hard to restore it to its former glory, which has been no mean feat.
The upper two floors of the building have since been converted into a 92-bedroom hotel for Premier Inn which was handed over earlier this year. We’ve now commenced work on the transformation of the 16,000 sq ft basement and 21,000 sq ft ground floor area into leisure, restaurant and bar space. It’s an exciting time!
What are the main benefits of working or running a business in Chesterfield?
Chesterfield Borough Council, in particular, has proved to be very helpful, supportive, engaging and enthusiastic, which has hugely benefitted the challenging redevelopment of the building.
How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential investor?
Chesterfield is a vibrant and attractive market town with a great deal to offer. It’s clearly a success story with 95% occupancy in its town centre*, which is an impressive statistic. It has an excellent central location in the UK, good transport links, a comprehensive regeneration strategy and supportive council.
*at the time of writing
Which development do you think will most benefit the town?
Obviously, the conversion of the basement and ground floor at Elder Way into restaurants, bars, cafés and maybe a gym. Other than the obvious, the new multi-storey car park at Saltergate will provide welcome additional parking for guests at the Premier Inn.
Which events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of events would you like to see in the future?
I think the Chesterfield Retail Awards and the Chesterfield Food & Drink Awards organised by Destination Chesterfield are great. They both celebrate important sectors in the town and remind shoppers and residents of the important contribution the businesses all make to the vibrancy of a town centre. It’s great to see both sectors thriving. Chesterfield really is bucking the trend.
What excites you most about the future of Chesterfield?
The town has a comprehensive regeneration strategy which can only put it further on the national and international investment map. There is a real buzz about the town as people are starting to see ambitious regeneration sites, like Chesterfield Waterside and Northern Gateway, actually start to take shape in 2019.
Where in Chesterfield would you recommend for a lunchtime treat?
Bottle & Thyme and Sorbo Lounge in the town centre do great food, both of which were winners at the Chesterfield Food & Drink Awards 2019. They both offer great venues for meetings with our many suppliers and do great food and coffee.
How can we change and develop Chesterfield’s town centre to make it thrive?
From my experience of Chesterfield town centre, and comparing it to the many areas of the UK in which Jomast operates, I think the town centre has the right plans in place to ensure it continues to do well in the current challenging political and economic environment.
How does working in Chesterfield differ from where you’ve worked before?
I work throughout the UK on a number of Jomast’s development projects. I have to commend Chesterfield for its friendly welcome, hospitality and business support. Jomast has already invested more than £10 million in Elder Way, however given the reception we have had and our experience of Chesterfield, further investment in the town is certainly something we would consider if the right opportunity arose.