Checking out at former Sheffield hotel as demolition finally nears

The former Grosvenor House Hotel, Charter Square, Sheffield City Centre.
The former Grosvenor House Hotel, Charter Square, Sheffield City Centre.
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A hotel considered in its heyday as one of Sheffield’s most luxurious places to stay is finally set to be knocked down - more than five years after the last guests checked out.

The city council has submitted a fresh planning application to demolish The Grosvenor House Hotel, on Charter Square, to make way for part of the new Sheffield Retail Quarter.

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The hotel site - bounded by Wellington Street, Cambridge Street, Charter Row and Furnival Gate - is set to be replaced by one of the scheme’s eight new blocks, facing a newly-formed public square.

It will feature two levels of shops, restaurants and cafes, and between four to eight floors of office accommodation, accessed through an entrance from the public square and an atrium.

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The block - considered a key element of the quarter - can be made bigger or smaller depending on occupier demand.

The council says in the plans: “The buildings are at, or approaching, the end of their design life and are beyond economic repair.

“The demolition of these buildings will enable the transformation of the area as part of the enabling works for the proposed Sheffield Retail Quarter.”

It adds: “It is envisaged that redevelopment of the site will commence promptly on completion of the demolition, and that the demolition and start of rebuilding may overlap.”

If the plan is given the go-ahead, the hotel will come down in December.

The work will be completed in June next year.

The buildings will be stripped out and asbestos removed before the structures are taken down floor-by-floor.

The possibility of using explosives to complete the task has not been ruled out.

“The extent of the demolition will be to clear the structures completely, including foundations,” says the council.

The 15-floor Grosvenor opened in 1966, in time for the World Cup football matches in Sheffield.

At one time it was the city’s only four-star hotel, and hosted celebrities and royalty, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, in plush surroundings boasting 102 bedrooms, a ballroom, restaurant, bar and function room. Boxing matches also took place there.

It was last operated by Corus Hotels before its closure in 2009.

The whole block was subject to a compulsory purchase order by developer Hammerson as part of the failed Sevenstone retail scheme. When that project stalled, so did the demolition. The building is now owned by the council, having been acquired from Hammerson at the end of July.

Outline plans for the entire Sheffield Retail Quarter were lodged last month, ahead of a more detailed application if permission is granted.

A developer is now expected to be chosen early next year. The council wants the majority of shops to be open in 2019.