Backing for multi-million pound scheme to transform landmark former Sheffield Co-op into tech hub

Launch of the Kollider Project in the former Co-op at Castle House in Sheffield City Centre Nick Morgan (Kollider), John Mothersole (Sheffield City Council) and Guy Illingworth (U+I).
Launch of the Kollider Project in the former Co-op at Castle House in Sheffield City Centre Nick Morgan (Kollider), John Mothersole (Sheffield City Council) and Guy Illingworth (U+I).

Sheffield Star readers have given a huge thumbs up to plans to transform a disused former department store into a huge tech hub for hundreds of firms.

A £3 million revamp of Castle House in Sheffield city centre will turn the disused former Co-op department store into a bustling business centre for up to 1,100 people, developers say.

Customers in the old Co-op store.

Customers in the old Co-op store.

READ MORE: Huge tech hub in former Sheffield Co-op department store set to transform digital economy

Dozens of readers took to the Sheffield Star Facebook page to back the scheme and to share their fond memories of the old store.

Rachael Roberts said: "I am so glad it is going to get used again and it is a fabulous idea for a tech hub that’ll benefit the city now and for years to come - ever expanding and ever changing.

"So exciting."

The former Co-op site.

The former Co-op site.

Syl Crofts added it was "nice to see (the building) in use again."

Dave Lappin described the Co-op as a "great old place with many memories of shopping trips with my mum and sister and the best Santa's Grotto in town."

Becky Nelhams added: "I adored the cafe upstairs with the old fashioned street lamps and the fountains. It was my favourite place as a kid."

A deal has been signed between the authority and building owners U+I, three years after the money, from the Department of Culture Media and Sport, was announced in the spring budget of 2015.

READ MORE: 3.5m digital hub plan for Sheffield's listed old Co-op

Original features will be retained including a listed spiral staircase and a boardroom with giant horseshoe-shaped table.

The building, which dates back to 1962, is set to open for business in 2019 and will be run by Sheffield-based Kollider Projects.

Nick Morgan, of Kollider, said: “The ambition is to get as many smart people in close proximity as possible to do great things.

“It’s about creating human connections, ultimately the original Co-op was all about community.”

The hub will have an incubator for start-ups, workspace for small firms, areas focused on subjects such as gaming and investment advice, and a restaurant.

Rent from occupants will raise revenue and Kollider hopes to sign a paying corporate partner.

Guy Illingworth, of U+I, said: “It will have a massive impact on the city’s tech economy and its image and this entire area.”

Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business, said he hoped it would be a catalyst for the modernisation of city’s Castlegate area, which includes the Old Town Hall and the former Sheffield Castle site.

He said: "It’s another step in the regeneration of the area."