Skip to the content

Six high quality proposals received for Cole Brothers building

Cole Brothers building

Sheffield City Council has received a strong response from developers resulting in six high quality proposals for the future of the Cole Brothers building in Barkers Pool.

The final six developers provide a range of exciting options for the refurbishment of the building which will secure the next phase of the Heart of the City project.

All six of the proposals are from experienced developers with a strong track record of redeveloping similar buildings.

All of the proposals plan to retain and enhance the Grade II listed building, with a variety of measures to improve the buildings efficiency – in keeping with the Council’s ambitions of achieving net zero by 2030.

Due to the number and quality of the submissions received during the marketing exercise, further analysis and discussion will be undertaken with the interested parties over the coming weeks. Therefore, details about the six proposals cannot be shared at this stage.

 A final decision on the preferred bidder will be made by the Strategy and Resources Committee as soon as possible after the local elections in May.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Co-Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, said:

“I am very pleased to see progress being made on the Cole Brothers building and it is fantastic to see so many developers saw the potential of the site and our city.

“The building sits right in the middle of our £470m Heart of the City regeneration project and I can’t wait to see how it ties in with the rest of the brilliant work going on there and across the whole city. I look forward to seeing the final option for consideration.

“As we look towards the future of Sheffield and all the impressive regeneration works, it is important we consider not just the overall look but the environmental impact these works have on our city. I am very happy to see this has been a key consideration in the development of these plans and we have shown we are committed to achieving net zero by 2030 through actions, not just words.”

The Cole Brothers building was Grade II listed on the National Heritage List for England in August 2022. As a result, all of the proposals have been drawn up in following discussions with Historic England to ensure they are deliverable within the listing.

For info

Historic England Listing

  • In August 2022, Historic England gave the Cole Brothers building Grade II status.
  • It determined that the former Cole Brothers building stands out as a rare surviving example of high modernism in department stores, with innovative design by a leading firm of architects and therefore meets the standards required for designation.
  • The decision was taken by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England. SCC were notified of the decision on 10th August 2022.
  • Grade II listed buildings form the majority (90%) of listed buildings in England. Sheffield has a number of post war buildings such as the former Co-op Department Store, Park Hill flats, Moore Street sub-station and Sheffield University Arts Tower.
  • Listing marks a building’s significance and celebrates its special architectural and historic interest. It brings specific protection so that its special interest can be properly considered in managing its future. Listing does not mean that no alterations can be made - in the vast majority of cases applications to make changes to a listed building are approved.

The following reasons have been given for the building being listed:

  • The building was designed by Yorke Rosenberg and Mardall in 1961 and is a rare example of a post-war department store designed by a leading architects' firm.
  • The unaltered exterior and the open plan layout contains original features such as white-glazed tiles, brown mosaic window panels, granite lined black terrazzo stairwells and a Marryatt-Scott escalator.
  • The site demonstrates innovative planning that makes use of a sloping island site, fully integrating a multi-storey customer car park and provides access at two levels for pedestrians.


  • Sheffield City Council acquired the lease of the Cole Brothers building from John Lewis in January 2022.
  • In May 2022 the building was marketed to select a preferred bidder through a two-stage process.
  • Stage one invited Expressions of Interest with a closing date of 14 July.
  • 16 Expressions of Interest were received with the majority of these including retention of most the building. The marketing material made it clear that SCC had submitted a request for a Certificate of Immunity. Developers welcomed this as it would provide certainty. All bidders have subsequently been notified of the listing and following discussions a number have indicated that they remain keen to progress their proposals.
  • The second stage of the process, where a short list of developers were invited to work up more detailed proposals, took place until the end of January.