Sheffield’s derelict central post office is finally to be given a new lease of life – as part of a college for overseas students.
The city centre’s main post office in Fitzalan Square closed in 1999 and has stood empty ever since.
Planning permission is expected to be granted next week to transform the listed building into a home for up to 279 students, as well as teaching accommodation.
Twin towers of student flats will be added – 22 storeys and 14 storeys high – on the corner of Flat Street and Pond Hill, overlooking the bus interchange.
There will also be new shops, cafes and bars installed at street level.
It is hoped the rebirth of the late Victorian building will lead to a revamp of Fitzalan Square, Flat Street and Pond Street, which was once one of the busiest parts of the city centre.
Councillors will hear that redevelopment is long overdue and that the college option is a most suitable option given the proximity of the Sheffield Hallam University campus.
Initial proposals were costed at £16 million but these have now been amended.
A report says the condition of the general post office is poor. It has been sunjected to thefts and damage – but the main fabric of the building is intact.
Building contractors are already on the site carrying out repairs and stripping out areas which do not affect its essential character.
The plans reflect the increasing importance of international students to the city’s universities and the local economy, particularly students from the Far East.
If permission is granted, developers hope the teaching accommodation will be ready by next July, with the student flats in place by the summer of 2015.
Plans have been submitted by national regeneration specialists Langland Developments.