A landmark office block - Sheffield’s equivalent of the Flatiron building in New York - is set to have a £5m makeover after the owner beat off competition from developers of student flats.
Scott’s Developments bought Steel City House for £3.5m after going to ‘best and final offers’ - blind bids - against three firms keen to divide it into small rooms.
The Grade II listed block on West Street was built in 1927 in art deco style from Portland stone. Two interior ceilings are also listed.
Now the firm is launching a £5m revamp to create Grade ‘A’ office space for 600 people.
Managing director John Scotting: “I’ve grown up with Steel City House - it’s always been one of my favourite buildings in the city. It would have been a shame to divide it into small units - and there’s a lot of demand for student flats.
“Even after we won at auction, one bidder asked if we would apply for permission for residential use and sell it to them.
“But there’s a serious lack of Grade ‘A’ space in Sheffield and several big companies’ leases are coming up for renewal in Sheffield in the next couple of years.
“And to attract inward investment to Sheffield, the city must offer premises that accommodate modern business needs. The recession is over, touch wood, so we think the timing is right.”
The plans include a new top floor, an atrium, open floors linked by bridges and glass lifts.
Work is set to start next month and end in spring. It will be paid for by a £5m loan from the Jessica Fund, which comprises European and Government money.
Some 400 people will be involved in construction work, the firm says.
Marketing will start in two weeks.
The building was constructed as a telephone exchange and was last used by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Leigh Bramall, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for Businesssaid: “The planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the application. We’re looking forward a prominent buildings back in use.”