Plans have been submitted to convert the former John Blundell department store on Clayton Street into a multi-million pound grade-A office scheme.
The iconic building, more commonly known as Howard’s store, was built in the mid 1800’s and was one of Newcastle’s most popular department stores until it closed almost 30 years ago.
Plans have now been submitted to Newcastle City Council for the redevelopment of the Grade II listed building, which include the addition of a further two storeys and an extension at the rear to provide 30,000sqft of warehouse style office space.
Owner, Sam Hamadi of the Newcastle-based Trafalgar Group has appointed Silverstone Building Consultancy to project manage the scheme and Studio SP is the appointed architect.
The proposed design retains the unique character of the building, exposing many of its original features and making the most of its industrial charm, whilst providing contemporary workspace with modern facilities including air conditioning, raised flooring and two passenger lifts.
Stuart Palmer of Studio SP said: “Given the former use of the building, the floors are all very open plan and it has a distinctive warehouse feel to it. The stunning Georgian façade and large windows add to the character of the building and allow plenty of natural light in. We plan to take full advantage of this and will retain its key features including a 1920’s staircase, exposed brickwork, bolted steel beams, cast iron columns and the dramatic timber roof trusses on the top floor to create a unique office building that will be architecturally very desirable”
Ben Hunter, director at Silverstone Building Consultancy added: “After carrying out a full building survey on the property last year we are delighted to have been further appointed to project manage the redevelopment. We have worked alongside the owner and the architect to ensure we can expose as much as possible of the original structure, yet still comply with the necessary building regulations. Every floor has a different shape and features, and we are very excited about seeing the building transformed into something very special.”
The property owner says inspiration has been taken from other successful warehouse style developments such as those in Shoreditch, London and that he envisages it will appeal to businesses looking for something different.
Sam Hamadi said: “We feel it is important to retain office space in the city centre to attract new business as well as to enable existing businesses to expand in the city, particularly in light of the amount of office space converted to other uses in the last few years. Given the size of the building it would make a fantastic HQ office for a large company or could potentially be let in multiple parts to provide smaller creative/studio accommodation and we anticipate a high level of interest.”
A planning decision is expected in eight weeks’ time.