A MAJOR new residential and commercial development has officially opened.

The Circus Street site in Brighton includes 142 affordable and private homes, 450 student accommodation bedrooms, 30,000 sq. ft of office space and food, drink and retail units.

It also features the city’s first ever purpose-built dance house, which will be run by South East Dance.

The £130 million development is set to create more than 400 new jobs and will add £200 million gross value to the local economy in the next ten years.

The former fruit and vegetable market site development was led by U+I and Brighton and Hove City Council.

The Argus: Newly opened Circus Street development site in Brighton Newly opened Circus Street development site in Brighton

Council leader Phelim McCafferty cut the ribbon at the official opening alongside representatives from the University of Brighton, M&G Real Estate, Gravis Capital Management, GVP Student Living and Coast to Capital.

He said that after almost a decade of involvement in the project, it was “inspiring” to see the transformation of the once derelict brownfield site.

“The development is key to unlocking the potential for our city,” he said. “Getting here wasn’t straightforward – few things are that are worth it.

“As we seek to recover from the scarring to the economy from Brexit combined with the pandemic, the council welcomes new jobs, opportunities and homes.”

With a focus on biodiversity, a total of 100 trees and 10,000 new plants have been planted on site.

The new purpose-built dance hub is due to open in the summer of 2022.

South East Dance artistic director Cath James said the space will be a “welcoming, accessible, sustainable place” for dancers of all ages and abilities.

“The opening of this new cultural quarter is an exciting milestone in our journey to launching the city’s new home of dance in 2022,” she said.

A trial opening with workshops and classes will be held in spring.

The Argus: Newly opened Circus Street development site in Brighton Newly opened Circus Street development site in Brighton

U+I CEO Richard Upton their goal was to bring cultural, economic and educational benefits to a “currently deprived area”.

“We want to make Circus Street the go-to place for Brighton’s creative individuals, innovative business start-ups, students and nearby residents,” he said.

“We have already started to install public are installations for the whole city to enjoy, but watch this space, as there are more exciting art works on their way.”

In September, a circus-themed totem sculpture designed by artist Christopher Baxter was erected on the site.

The sculpture was the second major art piece on site following Sir Antony Gormley’s bollards, which mark the pedestrian entrances into the development.