Sheffield City Council has full control of the John Lewis building, and this presents the ideal opportunity to create something special on one of the most prominent sites in the city centre.
In summer 2021, the council appointed experts Arup, Fourth Street and Queensberry to look at the condition of the existing building, the carbon impact and how any options would integrate within the Heart of the City and wider city centre.
There are three broad options: Retention and re-use of the building (and a plan for Sheffield Rules, the football museum, falls into this category), or complete removal of the building, creating a large public space, with the third option being complete removal, with public space and a smaller new building developed on the site.
The plans were put out to public consultation, with 1500 respondents, and according to the council, most favoured replacing John Lewis with a smaller building and outside space at a cost of about £40m.
We won’t know the outcome until the end of the summer, and in the meantime, the scruffy old department store should be clad in full building wrap with printed hoardings around the site.
Considering the implications and cost of reusing the building, I suspect that this option will be the eventual outcome.