Cole Brothers: Sheffield City Council close to deal to reopen John Lewis building

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It says it will retain ‘much of the structure’ while improving the energy efficiency of the building

Sheffield City Council is close to signing a deal to reopen the John Lewis building in the city centre.

Officials say they expect to sign a lease with a new occupier in January. The authority has been in ‘detailed negotiations’ with developer Urban Splash for six months.

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The firm has put forward plans to turn the building into cafes, shops, offices and events space. 

Urban Splash has put forward plans to turn the building into cafes, shops, offices and events space. Urban Splash has put forward plans to turn the building into cafes, shops, offices and events space.
Urban Splash has put forward plans to turn the building into cafes, shops, offices and events space. | SCC

Council leader Tom Hunt, chair of the strategy and resources committee, said: "The former Cole Brothers building is an important and much loved part of Sheffield city centre. It’s great that we’re moving forward with Urban Splash to breathe new life back into the building.

"The exciting proposal from Urban Splash will add to the fantastic regeneration we’re seeing throughout the city centre in the Heart of the City development at West Bar and more.

"Sheffield is a city on the up. We are creating a city centre that will be a destination for people to come and relax, shop, eat, work, and drink."

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Councillors will scrutinise the plans at a meeting on Thursday, December 21.

If the deal is agreed, Urban Splash says it will consult Sheffield residents.

It says it will retain ‘much of the structure’ while improving the energy efficiency of the building.

Last month, the firm said its new name would ‘Cole Store,’ in a reference to its original use as a Cole Brothers department store.

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Urban Splash - famous for revamping Park Hill flats - won the contract to take over and refurbish the former John Lewis building in June.

The council took ownership in January 2022 after John Lewis announced it was closing with the loss of 299 jobs. It was Grade II listed in July last year.

In June 2023 the authority announced that Urban Splash as the ‘preferred bidder’ to buy it on a 250-year lease. 

No details of the price, cost of modernisation or completion date have been given. 

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