Scaffolding will need to be extended either side of WH Smith's branch in Sheffield city centre, it is understood - as the building's front wall has to be dismantled piece by piece to fix a structural problem that forced the stationer to relocate.
The shop and its upper storeys have been covered with scaffolding for 18 months since the problem first emerged. Now metal fencing has been put up, extending across much of the pavement and bolstered by concrete blocks, to allow space for more construction materials.
The stationer has moved to an empty unit on Pinstone Street last occupied by the Co-op and Budgens to give workers access to its premises on Fargate. A heavily discounted lease was negotiated with help from the council.
The council has been told the place needs repairs on the third floor, including a new roof, trusses, rafters, and the taking down and rebuilding of the front and back walls. Replacement flat roof finishes are also to be provided on the second floor. It is believed the extent of the work means more scaffolding will be required either side of the store, where WH Smith's neighbours are New Look and Santander.
The Fargate branch closed on January 30 and is expected to reopen later in the year. Property agent Paul Lancaster previously said the facade was falling away and WH Smith was liable for the costs, even though it is not the owner.
A partial re-fit would be required before the company returns, he added, saying: "They will be going back in and securing their position on Fargate and making an investment on the street."
Structural issues first emerged in 2016 and the branch closed for maintenance in September that year. The scaffolding was extended a month later and the shop then reopened.
Notices outside the substitute branch on Pinstone Street include an apology from the stationer to customers for not offering the normal shopping 'experience'.