Categories
Buildings

There’s not a lot of love for the proposed C-N Tower

The CN-Tower from Norfolk Street. Image: Grantside.

A developer has responded after one of its project on the corner of Charles Street and Norfolk Street attracted 127 objections.

Grantside applied for planning permission to Sheffield City Council for a 10-storey office block, called C-N Tower, to replace two 1960s buildings.

Residents complained it would block natural light, destroy privacy and damage businesses, and Historic England is concerned about the height of the tower and its effect on existing heritage buildings.

Grantside chief executive Steve Davis said: “According to Sheffield City Council there is a ‘chronic shortage’ of high-quality, Grade ‘A’ office space in the city centre. This is hugely detrimental to Sheffield’s future economic growth both in the short term and the long-term, as potential occupiers may be forced to look elsewhere.

One of the buildings that will be demolished at the corner of Charles Street and Norfolk Street. Photograph: Sheffield Star.

The area around Norfolk Street and Pinstone Street was drastically redesigned in the late 1800s, widening and realigning Pinstone Street which involved the demolition of many buildings including some on this site.

The first building to be built on the site within the new road layout was the Three Horseshoes Hotel Public House in the 1890s. In the early 1900s buildings were built either side of the pub including the existing building St. Paul’s Chambers which originally housed the New Central Hall, cited as one of Sheffield’s first picture houses. This building also took up a section of the proposed site and became the Tivoli Cinema in 1914.

On 12th December 1940 Sheffield City Centre suffered extreme bomb damage during an intensive air raid. This included a direct strike outside the site where the Three Horseshoes Hotel and partof the Tivoli Cinema were gutted by the blast and subsequent fires.

The cinema never reopened but the Central Hall entrance signage can still be seen on the building today.

The site was eventually cleared of rubble and sat as an empty plot, used for parking during the 1950s. In the 1960s the current buildings on site were constructed and provided new offices above ground floor retail space. Over the following decades the buildings were occupied by many differing uses including BBC Radio Sheffield and a branch of The Post Office.

The C-N Tower is shown as an artist impression behind St Paul’s Building and the Prudential Assurance Building. Photograph: Grantside.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

Sheffield Hallam University

Block D will become a key anchor for Howard Street and
gateway building to the city and campus. This requires a
building facade that is both civic but restrained in its nature. (BDP)

News of a significant proposed development within Sheffield’s Cultural Industries Quarter Conservation Area.

Sheffield Hallam University has submitted a planning application for the erection of three new higher education blocks within its city campus on the existing Science Park site and adjacent surface car park. Blocks A, BC and D are planned around a new public green space provisionally named University Green. It forms a revised Phase One of SHU’s campus masterplan, initiated in 2017/18, and considers changes to the workplace because of the pandemic.

The site covers an area bordered by Paternoster Row, Howard Street, Arundel Street and Charles Street, and is alongside the Hubs complex.

The ground floor plan illustrates public entrances,
key internal spaces, range of activities and location of key
green spaces (internal yards and University Green). (BDP)

Block D will become a key civic gateway building to the city and campus. In response to this, the tallest part of the development is located at the key junction between Howard Street and Paternoster Row to symbolise a new gateway and reference to the old clock tower of the Arthur Davy & Sons building that once stood on part of the site.

The architectural expression of Block BC is three simple
masses that step down from University Green towards the
Globe Pub.
(BDP)
Block A has showcase opportunities on Charles Street and
Arundel Street where applied learning functions such as SHU
Law may be showcased. (BDP)

This area was once known as Alsop Fields where ancient hunting rights were claimed. In the late 18th century, the Duke of Norfolk set about his ambitious and grand plan to develop the neighbourhood into a fashionable residential district in response to the growing wealth of manufacture. The masterplan was prepared by James Paine. He proposed a rigid grid framework incorporating a hierarchy of streets, with main streets and a pattern of smaller ones for each urban block, serving mews to the rear of the main houses.

In the 1780s, work on the Georgian estate grid commenced to the north of the site beginning with the parallel routes of Union Street, Eyre Street and Arundel Street from the town centre, extending to Matilda Street (formerly Duke Street). However, the masterplan didn’t transpire largely because Sheffield’s inhabitants didn’t want or couldn’t afford the properties as planned.

Despite the masterplan never being wholly built, the legacy of the Duke of Norfolk is retained in many of the streets being named after his family members.

The site designated for redevelopment became a series of factories, workshops, small shops, as well as the site of the County Hotel. Much of the land was cleared during the 1980s, with the creation of Sheffield Hallam University’s Science Park (1996) in red brick by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson. This will be swept away in the proposed development.

The Campus plan was developed around a number of
Campus plan Principles that are embedded in the design of
blocks A, BC, D and University Green. (BDP)
Illustrative photomontage view looking from Park Hill. (BDP)
Entrance to the Science Park on Howard Street. If planning permission is granted, the site will be cleared and replaced with the new development. (Wikimedia)

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Other Streets

Connecting Sheffield

Our city centre may take on a new look if plans to pedestrianise large swathes of it get the go ahead. Sheffield City Council want to make foot and bicycle journeys easier and quicker, while streamlining public transport services.

The proposals include pedestrianisation to Pinstone Street and Leopold Street, linking Fargate with the Peace Gardens, as well as Charles Street between Union Street and Pinstone Street. The pedestrianisation of Surrey Street would create a traffic-free Town Hall Square.

Work would include more greenery, replicating the ‘Grey-to-Green’ scheme already seen between Castlegate and West Bar.

Bus gates would be installed in both directions on Furnival Gate, and along Arundel Gate to Norfolk Street

Rockingham Street would get a new bus hub with improvements to pavements, green planting, a pocket park, and bus stops.

The future of our city? Pedestrianisation of Pinstone Street and Charles Street connects with Heart of the City II redevelopment, due for completion in 2021. (Image: Connecting Sheffield)

Of course, there are benefits to the scheme – improved air quality, better accessibility to shops and businesses, a more attractive city centre, and public spaces that create city uniqueness.

Artist impressions paint a bright picture, but there are notes of caution.

Sheffield city centre is at a midpoint in its regeneration, with the pandemic decimating footfall, and placing even more uncertainty on retail, hospitality, and office space requirements.

The city centre is a travesty of its former self, Covid-19 exposing retailers already reeling from Meadowhall and the internet. And, after restrictions are eventually lifted, how many pubs, bars, and restaurants, will have survived?   

Half-hearted attempts to open cycle lanes at the heart of the city, further reducing traffic flow, have met with lukewarm response. With respects to cyclists, our seven hills make four wheels the favoured choice in and out of the city.

The prospect of a Town Hall Square, with pedestrian access and cycle routes linking Fargate, Leopold Street, Surrey Street, and the Peace Gardens. (Image: Connecting Sheffield).

The key to any redevelopment must take into consideration transport links.

Cars are already deterred from entering due to over-complicated traffic flow and the extortionate cost of parking. Our buses remain empty, not least because nobody knows where they go, or where to catch them anymore. Our elderly citizens must walk a distance to catch a bus, and the question remains whether they will bother anymore?

We must tread carefully, mindful that change must happen if our city centre is to be revitalised.

Any changes must take place before 2023 to qualify for a Government grant, managed by Sheffield City Region, and must be subject of public consultation.  

An overview of the ‘Connecting Sheffield’ proposal, providing a green space around the city centre. (Image: Connecting Sheffield)

Connecting Sheffield

© 2020 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

The new Isaacs Building takes shape

Scaffolding and new steel work support retained Victorian fronts on Pinstone Street. (Image: Heart of the City II)

A photograph that tells a story. The remains of the Victorian facade at the lower end of Pinstone Street in Sheffield city centre. Everything behind has been demolished, and the famous old fronts preserved for posterity.

Block C of the Heart of the City II masterplan is located between Pinstone Street, Cambridge Street and Charles Street.

It incorporates two historic building blocks which form the southern end of the Pinstone streetscape.

The combined façade and its dramatic roofscape is an excellent example of Sheffield brick and terracotta architecture. It occupies a prominent position and is visible from the Peace Gardens through to The Moor.

Block C will be home to 39,000 sq ft of premium Grade A office space, serving 450 employees, plus six premium retail units comprising over 8,000 sq ft.

It will be known as the Isaacs Building, named after Edwardian-era paper-hangings merchant David Isaac, and is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Categories
Buildings

Grosvenor House

Making use of the rooftop terrace. Not bad at all. Grosvenor House, the name chosen by HSBC employees, and paying homage to the hotel that stood here before. The main office entrance is located on the corner of Wellington Street and Cambridge Street, and another entrance faces onto a new area of public realm at Charter Square. The building will also include retail space and shop fronts will be primarily located on Cambridge Street and also the important corner where Pinstone Street meets Furnival Gate. HSBC employees in Sheffield are being relocated from their current office space at Griffin House after the banking giant signed as the anchor tenant on a 15-year lease, committing them to Sheffield city centre.

Categories
Buildings

Heart of the City II

New images have been released of Sheffield’s Heart of the City II scheme. The £500million development is being built on land between Pinstone Street. Barker’s Pool and The Moor, including shops, two four or five-star hotels, offices, apartments leisure venues and a high-end food hall, all set around tree-lined streets and public spaces overlooked by rooftop bars and cafes.

The CGI images show the Victorian facades on Pinstone Street being retained. They also show the Five Ways area – the name being given to the pedestrianised interchange where Cross Burgess Street, Charles Street, Cambridge Street and Wellington Street meet.

There is also work to restore Laycock House, a late Victorian building that survives almost completely intact, as part of the Block B element of the scheme. Known as Athol House, it will provide space for restaurants or cafes on the ground floor, while the floors above will include office space.

Block C will be known as Isaacs House after Victorian-era paper-hangings merchant David Isaacs. Behind the Pinstone Street frontage the re-imagined building will contain workspaces, prime retail and leisure space.

Heart of the City II is one of Sheffield’s key economic projects. Backed by Sheffield City Council, with Queensberry as its Strategic Development Partner, it is not just a retail scheme, but mixed-use development.

The scheme builds on the hugely successful original Heart of the City project that kick started the regeneration of Sheffield city centre at the start of the Millennium.

Categories
Buildings

Isaacs Building

I hope I wasn’t the only one caught unaware when the Heart of the City II project announced that Block C was going to be called Isaacs House, named after Edwardian-era paper-hangings merchant David Isaacs.

The new block will sit on a triangular piece of land bordering Pinstone Street, Charles Street and Cambridge Street. The Victorian fronts on Pinstone Street – including the Pepper Pot façade – will be retained with new workspaces, prime retail and leisure space constructed behind.

David Isaacs (born 1873) was the son of Lewis Isaacs, a wallpaper merchant, and his wife Mary, both Russian-British subjects, and influential members of Sheffield’s Jewish community.

The family wallpaper business was established at 94 The Wicker, later opening a second shop at No. 4 St. Paul’s Parade, in the town centre.

In 1904, David Isaacs, now heading the business, commissioned a new building on a wedge-shaped plot cornering Charles Street and Cambridge Street. The Isaac’s Building contained new showroom premises for Isaacs – The Wallpaper People, on the corner, opposite The Hippodrome theatre on Cambridge Street.

Isaacs Building was an example of Edwardian entrepreneurship, the ground floor containing seven shop units with an assembly hall above, its entrance being from Charles Street. The top floor of the building contained offices and several workshops, mostly rented by enterprising tailoring businesses.

The wallpaper shop opened in 1905, a newspaper advertisement declaring that “Isaacs, The Great Wallpaper People, begs to announce that they have opened their new premises, Isaacs Building, Charles Street, with the cheapest, largest and best variety of paper hangings in the world.” The shop advertised a wide range of paper hangings – raised papers, engrain papers, plain papers, gilt papers, varnish papers, sanitary papers and pulp papers.

The Independent Labour Party quickly established a base within the assembly rooms and, along with the nearby Athol Hotel, the area became a hub of political activity. As well as offices for the ILP, the building was also home to the ILP club and the ILP-supporting Sheffield Guardian newspaper.

For the first few years Isaacs Building regularly advertised shops suitable for a hairdresser, milliner, chemist or sweet shop. The assembly hall, originally known as Stanton Hall, became regular home to the Sheffield Ethical Society, while other meeting rooms were known as the Central Rooms.

In 1911, the ILP rooms were taken over by Sheffield Trades Hall, a business that survived until 1930. It was regularly targeted by the police, believing that illegal drinking and gambling were taking place inside, and making several prosecutions.

It appears that Isaacs Wallpaper on Charles Street wasn’t the success it intended to be. Its proximity to St Paul’s Parade might have been the reason, and in 1908 the shop was closed, the business transferred to another new shop at 17 King Street… advertisements using the tagline “Waiting to be Hung.” In the shop’s place, Isaacs opened an auction mart “open to receive goods of every description.” By 1910, the shop at The Wicker had also closed.

In 1930, it was announced that Sheffield Trades Hall Ltd had gone into liquidation, a development that cost David Isaacs dearly. The following year he was declared bankrupt, the freeholds of Isaacs Building, approximately 346 yards long, being offered at auction. The properties were sold in lots – Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8 Upper Charles Street (No.6 being Sheffield Trades Hall), and Nos.35,37, 39 and 41 Cambridge Street – all fetching £8,350.

For the next 88 years the property, no longer referred to as Isaacs Building, was occupied by numerous businesses. In time, the old assembly hall was converted into a nightclub, its various incarnations being Faces, Raffles, Charlie Parkers and Freedom, and for a time part of the old basement being used as Charles Street Underground, a faithful reproduction of a London Underground station.

As I write, the building still stands, long boarded-up and the only evidence of recent occupancy being a chicken takeaway where Isaacs Wallpaper shop once stood. But not for much longer, with demolition scheduled in the next few weeks.

Categories
Buildings

St Paul’s 4

I’m sure a few people will remember the demolition of the Empire Theatre, on Charles Street, back in 1959.

The grand old theatre was replaced by shops and offices, bridging the gap between Union Street and Pinstone Street, the most beloved tenant being Sugg Sport that closed in 2000.

They say that today’s buildings are tomorrow’s history.

This will be the case if Manchester-based developer CTP eventually gets the go-ahead for St. Paul’s 4, a 10-storey office block, planned in place of this 1960s building.

The £35million scheme was proposed in June last year, when CTP wanted half of the building pre-let before launching the project. A pre-let – signing a tenant while a building is still on the drawing board – would then trigger a bank or financial institution.

Initial talks had taken place with Sheffield City Council, thought to be supportive of the development, and CTP stated that “demand for the project was so high that they were happy to forge ahead.”

A pre-planning application had been expected last autumn, but has yet to materialise.

The optimism for St. Paul’s 4 was based on Sheffield’s office take-up reaching a ten year high in 2017, when prime office space availability fell to its lowest level on record.

However, the update from CTP is perhaps less optimistic.

With several new office blocks completed in the city centre, the developer has now downgraded its status to “serious tenant enquiries.”

CTP has an excellent track record in Sheffield, being responsible for St. Paul’s 1,2 and 3, as well as the Mercure Hotel, Cheesegrater car-park and St. Paul’s Tower.

It promises that St. Paul’s 4 would “respect the heritage” of historic buildings in the area, and complement an adjacent 32-storey tower block, proposed for the site of Midcity House, at the junction of Furnival Gate, Pinstone Street and Union Street.

CTP has a ‘quasi joint venture’ with Schroders, an asset management company, that owns the land and building on the site.

If St. Paul’s 4 gets off the ground, then it will be one of the most significant changes to Pinstone Street in modern times.