Three sites, investment of £12 million – and one developer.
The Sheffield company Primesite UK is revamping a trio of prominent places in upmarket areas of the city to deliver dozens of new homes which are, says Coda Planning director Adam Murray, desperately needed.
"We haven't got an up-to-date local plan, we're not delivering the homes we require and haven't done for years, particularly in the south-west of the city," says Adam, whose consultancy is working with Primesite on each scheme.
"We 100 per cent need a Green Belt review. So the more homes you can deliver within the city, particularly in the really popular areas, the less sites you have to take out of the Green Belt."
The three projects are happening at the former Gilder's car showroom at Banner Cross, Botanical House – previously Wake Smith Solicitors' offices opposite the Botanical Gardens on Clarkehouse Road – and the old Hanrahan's bar, a building last occupied by the Loch Fyne seafood chain across from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on Glossop Road.
Primesite is a family concern, owned by Scott Hinchliffe who clearly knows the best spots to buy.
"They're really keen on sites like this – good locations in the city," Adam agrees. "We work with them because they have the same ethos about Sheffield – looking at great opportunities and making things work."
Coda Planning is a member of the Sheffield Property Association. The Star is focusing on the mission of the SPA – which aims to be the ‘collective voice of property in Sheffield’ and was the first organisation of its kind outside the capital – through a series of features looking at major ventures supported by its backers, a diverse group including developers, the universities, construction companies, solicitors and commercial agents.
Wake Smith has moved out of Botanical House to Campo Lane in the city centre. The stone-built Victorian residence – originally designed as housing – has been restored to form 11 apartments, ranging from one to three-bedroom properties, while a modern five-bedroom home has been put up at the back.
A large hoarding outside announces the flats as 'Sheffield's finest apartments in an unrivalled location' - bold, but hard to argue with.
The flats, which are almost finished, have 'more or less sold out' and the solicitors are happier in their new offices, says Adam. "The city centre is a much more appropriate location for them. These areas should be seeing more housing. The office use has taken up too much of a residential area, really."
The building is not listed, but Adam says the £3 million scheme has still 'protected a heritage asset'. "We're in the Broomhill Conservation Area, one of the nicest parts of the city, in my view. The Botanical Gardens is one of the shining stars of the city, so to be able to put this back into the form it previously was is absolutely fantastic."
Coda Planning often talks to companies about moving into the middle of Sheffield, he says.
"You want the business community to be in the city, you want them to be utilising the city centre and all the new stuff that's going on. That's where all the best transport connections are."
On Glossop Road, meanwhile, the empty Hanrahan's building is to become 27 apartments. It is Grade II listed, dating from the 1800s, and is somewhat run-down at present – but this is expected to change.
"It's about refurbishing the building and making it more appropriate for residential use, and then to the rear there's a link building and an extension which is a bit more contemporary, but takes prompts from the listed building," says Benjamin Dakin, a Coda planner who works solely with Primesite.
The developer is spending £4 million on the site, which Adam says was unsuitable for a restaurant. "The way the internals are configured, it really didn't work."
Finally, a fresh application has been submitted for a £5 million plan to convert the former Gilder's showroom, off Ecclesall Road South, into different uses. The existing showroom would become three retail units, accountants Brown McLeod have signed a lease for 9,000 sq ft of offices in the old workshop and eight townhouses are to be built at the back of the disused building, which has largely stood empty since the motor dealer relocated to Meadowhead a decade ago.
"We've got national occupiers looking at the retail/café units," says Adam. "It's right on the edge of the district centre at Banner Cross which has struggled a little bit."
Coda Planning has spoken to community groups who have been 'quite supportive generally', he says. "National chains can give more vibrancy to that local centre and help with the other businesses there, because it just provides more footfall. We think it's a real positive."
His consultancy has worked with architects Cartwright Pickard on the Hanrahan's and Gilder's schemes, and Peak Architects at Botanical House.
There is a need, he says, to 'look at Sheffield as a whole' when considering where to build homes.
"There's such a huge housing shortage. But obviously the more you can deliver in the city, the better. The south-west of the city is so constrained by the Green Belt and the Peak District.”