Cole Brothers: Bidding extended by two weeks due to interest in former Sheffield department store

The deadline for bids to buy the old Cole Brothers in Sheffield has been pushed back by two weeks due to a high level of interest, a councillor says.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 12:54 pm

Coun Mazher Iqbal said the authority was being contacted by potential bidders on a regular basis and some had been round the Barker’s Pool building twice.

As a result they had extended the deadline by two weeks to mid July.

Why is the building for sale?

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Cole Brothers, Sheffield, 1973

The sales process comes after the shop shut last year with the loss of 299 jobs. The council had bought it and rented it back to the retailer in a bid to ensure it would stay open. But six months later it closed for good, hit by internet shopping and repeated lockdowns, John Lewis bosses said.

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Now the authority is selling the landmark building on a 250-year lease. In a sales brochure it states it wants a developer who is green and a good employer.

And it has not ruled out demolition - although it may have no choice but to retain it.

The old Cole Brothers store is for sale. Owner Sheffield City Council is looking for a ‘creative’ developer and has not ruled out demolition.

Why might it be protected from demolition?

A group of architects and historians has applied to Historic England to have the 59-year-old building listed.

The authority acknowledges it has ‘architectural merit’ but has applied for ‘immunity’ from listing to keep its options open.

The brochure states it is ‘very interested’ to hear what bidders thinking of partial demolition – of the car park – which could become a ‘modest open space’.

Which group has said it must be retained?

Meanwhile, Sheffield property experts have spoken out in the debate over whether to flatten it stating: ‘renew and reuse is the only way’.

Martin McKervey, chair of Sheffield Property Association, said it was time not just to declare a climate emergency but to ‘do something about it’.

That meant keeping Cole Brothers, as well as Moorfoot offices and the former Debenhams, which is privately owned but up for sale.

He added: “The reality is if we are truly declaring a climate emergency, we all need to do more to start treating carbon like it is priceless.”

But the stance is opposed by some who say the building is near the end of its serviceable life and a new one would be greener long term.

Others fear the ‘monstrous relics from the 60s and 70s’ could damage the city’s prosperity and vibrancy.

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