Prominent Sheffield city centre building bought by developer with plans for apartments

A property developer has snapped a large multi-storey building in Sheffield city centre with plans to convert it into apartments.

By Liam Fitzpatrick
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 2:12 pm

Nottingham-based ALB Group has bought the 48,000 square feet build at the corner of Fargate and High Street for an undisclosed sum.

Already housing retail businesses such as Starbucks, Greggs and Hotel Chocolat on the ground floor, plans are underway to transform the four upper floors, totaling almost 30,000 square feet of vacant office space, into apartments.

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Developers NLB Group have bought 30,000 square feet of empty office space on Fargate with plans to convert it into apartments.

The move follows a similar refurbishment model employed by ALB Group in other UK centres, including Stoke-on-Trent, Ipswich, Birkenhead, Nottingham and Derby.

Group managing director Arran Bailey says he is “committed” to finding ways to reverse the trend of decay in UK town centres, particularly by encouraging local, independent entrepreneurs to launch new high street businesses, by offering lower rents with more flexible terms.

ALB claims it is seeking to do the same with its vacant retail units in the Fargate building.

Bailey said: “We are delighted to have secured yet another prime city centre building, right in the middle of Sheffield’s shopping district.

Developers ALB Group have completed similar projects in high streets in Stoke on Trent, Ipswich, Birkenhead and Derby, saying they want to create a "vibe similar to London's Carnaby Street".

“All UK high streets have experienced troubling times for a number of years, and Sheffield is no exception. But with the right commitment from landlords like ourselves and by offering more forward-thinking terms, we can turn their fortunes around.

“Part of the secret is to ensure the huge amount of vacant upper floor space in buildings like 2-18 Fargate are brought back into use.

“Given the huge housing shortage, plus the frequently reported difficulties faced by first-time buyers, the most obvious answer is to turn this unused office space into much-needed, quality apartments or student accommodation. This not only provides homes in central locations, it adds footfall for the ground floor retailers – a genuine win-win situation.”

Rob Cassidy, Bailey’s business partner in this venture, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to have purchased this prime building in the heart of Sheffield and we are looking forward to getting started on our plans.”

Phil Daniels, director at FHP Property Consultants, who acted as acquisition adviser for ALB on the Sheffield transaction, said: “We’ve worked alongside ALB on several of these deals, and I must say Arran’s approach to our UK-wide problem of underperforming high street retail assets is always refreshing.”