Council chiefs say the exterior of the building at Barker’s Pool will be covered in a ‘distinctive and eye-catching design’ to conceal it.
The council this week revealed three options for the future of John Lewis in a new public consultation.
The three broad options for the future of the site are to retain and reuse the existing building, demolish the building and create a large public space, or demolish the building and create a public space with a smaller building.
Meanwhile, the council is conscious it could become a blot in the centre of Heart of the City 2 as other developments spring up around it.
John Lewis will become ‘a blight’ on city centre
A report says: “When the lease negotiations are complete and the John Lewis building passes into council ownership it will be some time before a permanent solution for the site is determined.
“In that time the building is likely to deteriorate further and become a blight on the surrounding area.
“It is proposed to install a full building wrap and printed hoarding around the site. The style of the wrap will be developed to include distinctive and eye-catching design.
“Wrapping the building can be a powerful and effective marketing tool. Creative designs create a buzz and are well received by the public.
“They conceal and disguise the building whilst advertising the project and keep the area looking bright and vibrant. They also protect passers-by from noise and mess.”
The wrap will cost £100,000 and should be in place by April 2022. The council hopes to get funding from South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authorities but will use existing Heart of the City budgets until the outcome of the bid.
Digital screen for Fargate
There are also plans for a pop-up container including a digital screen at the top of Fargate.
Officers say it will provide temporary space for new businesses and events as part of the Future High Street project which is improving Fargate and the High Street.
A report says: “Sheffield’s historic high street is central to the city’s emotional identity and economic history.
“Fargate and High Street account for one tenth of city centre retail space, with 103 retail and leisure units, but are unsustainable in their current form.
“Since the pandemic the scale of the challenge for city centres has increased massively with increased vacancy levels, reduced footfall and vibrancy, a heightened awareness of anti-social behaviour and an environment that has been impacted by multiple developments.”
The council also says it will help businesses by fitting out some ground floor units in Heart of the City developments.
Originally the units were going to be built as shells only and future tenants would be responsible for completing them but the council says it makes it too expensive for smaller and start-up tenants.
It will help increase the speed and number of lettings and make the area appear more attractive and safer than boarded up units.