This is when new-look shopping parades in Sheffield city centre will open
Sheffield city centre's transformation is picking up pace, with work now underway on two blocks which will house new shops and cafés.
Two of the city's most recognisable shopping parades on Pinstone Street are getting a major facelift, with the Victorian facades being restored and new buildings rising up to eight storeys being created behind.
The Laycock House and Pepper Pot blocks, or blocks B and C, as they are known, will between them boast around 21,000 sq ft of space for shops and food and drink outlets, more than 36,500 sq ft of office space and 52 apartments once the work is completed.
The project marks the latest phase in Sheffield Council's £470 million Heart of the City II revamp, which began with HSBC's recently opened new offices sitting between those blocks and the top of The Moor.
Once completed, it is envisaged the scheme - the sequel to Heart of the City I, which gave us the Winter Garden, Millennium Gallery and Peace Gardens - will include more shops, hotels, workspaces, leisure facilities, bars and restaurants across 1.5 million sq ft of land between Barker's Pool, The Moor and Wellington Street.
Demolition work on the Laycock House and Pepper Pot blocks has begun, with the shopfronts and interiors being ripped out.
Once this is completed later this month, building work is scheduled to take another 18 months, meaning the new blocks should be ready to open in spring 2021.
New names for the buildings are due to be announced soon, with fresh computer-generated images also set to be released shortly to give members of the public a better idea of what to expect.
The council claims this latest project will help create a 'striking streetscape that cleverly contrasts heritage and contemporary architecture', but it has not been without controversy.
While much of the existing buildings are being retained, the former Athol Hotel - where the Sheffield & District Football League, which was one of the world's earliest, was formed in July 1889 - is set to be razed, to the consternation of many heritage campaigners.
Its loss moved the charity SAVE Britain's Heritage to compare Heart of the City II to 'destructive' post war schemes which it said had 'disfigured' city centres across the country.
Work to the two blocks on Pinstone Street was given the go-ahead in March this year, despite some councillors saying it had been a difficult decision.
Plans for Kangaroo Works, a £50m housing complex with 364 apartments on the site of an old tool factory near Devonshire Green, most of which is now a car park, were submitted in May and are awaiting approval.
Detailed proposals for future stages - including a high-end food hall beside the Grade II*-listed Leah's Yard on Cambridge Street and a hotel with roof garden behind shops further up Pinstone Street, opposite the Peace Gardens - are yet to be revealed.
Blocks B and C - which are also bounded by Cambridge Street and Cross Burgess Street, opposite John Lewis and the dilapidated Grade II-listed Citadel building, which was home to the Salvation Army and where a new restaurant is planned - will form what the council describes as a 'key part' of the proposed 'Five Ways' pedestrianised junction at the centre of Heart of the City II.
HSBC staff have already moved into their new offices at Grosvenor House, where the Grosvenor House Hotel previously stood, and the popular café Marmadukes is set to open a second branch there, where it will be joined by the Swedish fashion chains Monki and Weekday.