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

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.

Thursday, 22nd February 2018, 11:53 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd February 2018, 12:00 pm
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).

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.

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Huge tech hub in former Sheffield Co-op department store set to transform digital economy
Customers in the old Co-op store.

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."

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

The former Co-op site.

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.

Customers in the old Co-op store.

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 former Co-op site.

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."