First post-pandemic office block set to open in Sheffield

A vacant Sheffield office block is reopening to business next month - one of the first with a string of adaptations imposed by the pandemic.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 1:47 pm

Block Three on the Pennine Five site at West Bar will have thermal detectors to measure body temperature, open-plan floors and 150 pay-as-you-go parking spaces and cycle racks as alternatives to public transport where numbers are limited due to social distancing.

The building, on the corner of Tenter Street and Hawley Street, will undergo a temporary fit-out to ensure it is ready for occupancy as early as next month.

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Artist's impression of the proposed Pennine Five scheme.

The complex of five giant buildings belonged to HSBC for many years until it moved into the city centre last year.

RBH snapped it up for £18m and announced £30m plans to turn it into a new ‘commercial campus’.

Now it is opening Block Three in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Sheffield commercial agent Tim Bottrill, colloco, said it had hit businesses of all sizes and it was important to act fast.

The Pennine Centre, at West Bar, belonged to HSBC.

“Some companies will be looking to leave properties and wanting a short-term base so they can review their next steps. Others will be in desperate need for bigger or additional floorspace – allowing them to spread desks and adhere to the two-metre social distancing restrictions.”

Future proposals for the P5 site are unchanged, to deliver a more than 220,000 sq ft of offices - as big as Sheffield City Council’s Heart of the City II scheme.

Chloe Brook, director at RBH Properties, said they would be set around a central plaza with a cafe/bar and will also feature a gym and co-working space.

She added: “With such a prominent and large site available, it makes sense for RBH to provide this short-term, flexible solution.

“There is so much uncertainty because of the coronavirus situation, we think it’s important to try and provide business owners with new and immediate solutions.”

The Pennine Centre was built between 1973 and 1975. It closed when hundreds of HSBC staff moved into a new £80m headquarters on Pinstone Street in the Heart of the City II scheme last year.

It also has a four-storey underground car park with 457 spaces.

RBH is based in Portsmouth.

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