THE former Co-op department store in Sheffield city centre is to get a ‘fresh start’ as a deal nears completion for the building to change hands.
Castle House, on Angel Street, was built in 1962 by Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative but the department store was closed three years ago and only the food hall, post office and travel agent are still trading.
The Co-operative Group said at the time that it was closing because it could no longer compete with other big stores and wanted to focus on core markets.
Now the whole building is to be sold in a deal that would see ownership pass into new hands - although the ground floor will continue to be leased by the Co-operative Group.
A Co-operative Group spokesperson said: “I can confirm that we have entered into the latter stages of negotiations for the sale of Castle House and we hope to conclude the sale within the next three months.
“As part of the regeneration of the store, we will be carrying out a complete refurbishment of the Co-operative Food store, which will herald a fresh start for Castle House.”
No further details are being given at this stage but the refurbishment will be seen as a boost for part of the city centre that has been hit hard by the recession.
When Castle House opened in the 1960s, with its polished granite frontage, spiral staircases and the latest in air conditioning, it was greeted as a sophisticated addition to city centre shopping.
The new owners will have to work around its grade II listed status, making it difficult to change its use and preventing demolition.
English Heritage granted the listing last year, describing the building as a ‘striking building of clean horizontal lines’ with a ‘strong, individual presence’.
But critics, including leading figures at Sheffield Council, criticised the listing as a barrier to regenerating the Castlegate area.