AFTER two years standing empty, a landmark Sheffield store has had a £1m green makeover - and bagged a new tenant.
The 20,000sq ft former Gresham’s timber warehouse on Chesterfield Road has been transformed by a refubishment which has seen it extend forward on to the former carpark with a huge glass curtain wall.
The argon-filled glass helps warm the building alongside a Sheffield-made Danfoss air source heat pump - thought to be the first fitted in a shop in the country.
A new mezzanine floor has created a 58-space ground floor car park and a rear extension is aimed at easing deliveries.
Surveyor Martin Saunders said the paint was still drying on the car park when B&M Retail signed a 10-year lease.
The Liverpool-based discount retailer could create up to 50 jobs in a flagship store when it opens in about a month, he added.
Hale Saunders secured the deal after approaching several retailers. The firm conducted negotiations and agreed terms with B&M, he added.
“B&M is a first class covenant, the company is opening more than 20 stores a year and it was looking for something high profile. This fitted the bill perfectly.”
Gresham’s timber warehouse closed two years ago after the firm concentrated operations in Hull where it was based. An Arnold Laver DIY store was across the road, it is now a Lidl supermarket.The revamp was complted by Sheffield developer Keith Wainman.
Mr Saunders said it had transformed an empty shed without a toilet - Gresham’s staff used a Portaloo - into a ‘future-proofed’ building with a host of hi-tech energy saving features.
Mr Saunders said Keith Wainman insisted on green features even though not all increased the rental value.
He added: “It shows he’s a brave man in this recession, he had the vision and he was determined. He was so confident in the concept and location he went for it. And it’s paid off.”
B&M Retail was unavailable for comment.
It’s website states: ‘B&M was formed in 1976 and is now one of the leading variety retailers in the UK. From its first store in Blackpool, B&M has grown to more 280 stores and 10,000 staff and 1m customers a week’. It currently has a shop in the former Bhs store on Haymarket in the city centre.
The company has enjoyed impressive growth with turnover of £700m in 2011 - almost 10 times the figure five years earlier - boosting its long-term target of operating 400 stores across the UK by the end of 2015.