Dramatic pictures show buildings being ripped down to make way for offices, apartments and shops in Sheffield city centre

There are few more dramatic signs of progress on a development than when an excavator is put to work.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 07:00 am
Updated Friday, 20th September 2019, 12:41 pm
The Premier House office block is demolished. Picture: Total Reclaims Demolition

And so it has proved with Sheffield's £470 million Heart of the City II scheme, as a demolition crew has been busy ripping down structures to pave the way for two further blocks of the major regeneration project.

Following the launch of Grosvenor House – the new office building for HSBC where fashion retailers Weekday and Monki will also be based, alongside another Marmadukes café – the focus has shifted to blocks B and C in the development masterplan.

Fronting on to Pinstone Street, the blocks’ designs involve retaining the existing Victorian facades while revamping and expanding the structures behind them. Completion is scheduled by the end of 2020.

The Premier House office block is demolished. Picture: Total Reclaims Demolition

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Block B incorporates Laycock House, a late Victorian building that has more or less survived completely intact and will be sensitively restored. The courtyard behind the building will become a ‘city garden’, with a café proposed for the ground floor unit. There will be four new retail units at ground floor level and 52 apartments across the seven floors above.

Meanwhile, block C sits between Pinstone Street, Cambridge Street and Charles Street. Known as the Pepper Pot, plans include five retail units on the ground floor and 37,000 sq ft of Grade A office space on the seven floors above.

Nottingham-based Total Reclaims Demolition has been tasked with carefully removing the redundant buildings that aren’t being kept. Staff took away asbestos in block B, then started to knock down the Premier House offices, the Athol Hotel and several retail units.

The roof on block C has been removed, and Natural England were consulted as well as bat experts before roof tiles were moved and retained. An unsafe dormer that was leaning out over the main high street was removed, but the facade wall along block C, designed by the Sheffield firm Flockton & Gibbs, will remain intact.

The Premier House office block is demolished. Picture: Total Reclaims Demolition

Heart of the City II is being led by Sheffield Council alongside its partner, real estate firm Queensberry. It is the successor to Sevenstone, the planned retail quarter that stalled during the recession – the council opted to press ahead on its own after parting company with developer Hammerson.

This week it was announced that 38 Carver Street, an empty, five-storey glass-fronted office complex, will be turned into a rooftop bar with modern workspaces underneath to create block G of HOTCII.

The council has given £2 million towards the start-up of the new development, in return for a 20-year lease with property management specialists Staton Young.

A planning application will be submitted to revive the building and expand the existing workspace from 26,000 to 32,000 sq ft.

How block B will look from behind Laycock House.

Cubo, a new style of serviced offices, will feature co-working space, private offices, meeting rooms, printing stations, designated desks or memberships for hot-desking.

Table tennis, football tables and game consoles will be available in the communal areas. There will also be space for yoga and wellness classes, plus free beverages – including beer and prosecco.

Alto, a rooftop bar, is planned for the top floor of the building with views across the city’s skyline. The development is due to be completed in 2020.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, the council’s cabinet member for business and investment, said: “It’s another sign that we are delivering the compelling mix of office space, residential and nightlife that will put the city head and shoulders above others in the country.”

How the Pepper Pot building will look.

The existing office block was built in the 1980s but has been vacant for a number of years and council officers say it has suffered serious damage including theft of cables and pipework.

Weekday, Monki and Marmadukes’ units are being fitted out below HSBC, and planning permission is in place for HOTCII's block F – Kangaroo Works, a £50 million block of 364 privately rented apartments at the corner of Rockingham Street and Wellington Street. At ground floor level there will be five commercial spaces suited to cafés, restaurants or start-up businesses.

Kangaroo Works is named after the old Robert Sorby and Sons tool factory that once stood on the site.

Heart of the City II. The demolition of Block B on Charles Street. Picture: Chris Etchells
Heart of the City II. The demolition of Block B on Charles Street. Picture: Chris Etchells
38 Carver Street, Sheffield. Picture: Chris Etchells