One of York’s most controversial buildings, Stonebow House, is to be reborn in gold and glass.
What was built as a concrete monument to Sixties brutalist architecture will be transformed to create a building developers say will “enhance the eastern gateway to the city centre”.
The Oakgate Group has bought the long leasehold of Stonebow House for an undisclosed sum from the receivers of its previous owners, property investment company Brightsea Sarl, which went into administration in 2013.
Under plans to be submitted to City of York Council, Stonebow House would become home to apartments, shops and restaurants.
Concrete stripped away
The comprehensive redevelopment will see the upper floors of Stonebow House converted into 20 luxury apartments, while on the lower floors much of the notorious 1960s concrete will be removed.
Space will be opened up and the building will be fully refurbished for modern commercial use.
There will also be about 31,500 sq ft of retail and leisure space, including shops, cafes and restaurants.
MD of Oakgate Richard France said:
With the opening of the impressive new Hiscox building, the new boutique Moxy Hotel and the Hungate residential development progressing, it is the missing piece in the redevelopment jigsaw for this part of York.
The change of ownership means the remaining tenants of Stonebow House are being asked to leave.
Much of the building is already vacant. Corals Bookmakers has left, Fibbers moved out in 2014, and the newer bar known both as Nevermind and And All That Could Have Been, closed some time ago.
Heron Foods remains, as does the Havana Cafe & Cocktail Bar, which only opened in Stonebow House at the end of the year. How long they will stay put is unknown at this stage.
The Duchess has hosted gigs in Stonebow House for eight years. Before that the same family owned the Snooker Centre there.
Owner Matty Tunstall said: “We will be actively looking for another venue in York if a suitable one can be found.”
‘New economic life’
The building has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years. Boss of Wetherby-based Oakgate Richard France said that will all change.
“We will be keeping the structure, which is sound, but give it a new economic life by transforming the building’s appearance and internal space, thereby complimenting the regeneration of the Hungate area,” he said.
“Even at this early stage, there is a lot of interest from retailers and restaurant operators because of the new configuration of space and we expect to attract further significant investment, when the refurbishment works are complete.”
Stonebow House was built in 1964, following York’s slum clearance programme, and designed by Wells, Hickman and Partners.
It has had a chequered history in the eyes of York residents and building experts and has often featured in worst building lists in the UK because of its imposing nature.
It has been described by national architecture critics as “hideous” and “sheer visual misery”, and out of place within an historic urban setting.
If the planning application is approved, the renovations will take between 12-15 months to complete.
The Oakgate Group has a successful history of regenerating run-down buildings. Previous projects include Northern House on Rougier Street in York, Tanner Row Car Park on George Hudson Street in York and Harrogate House on Parliament Street in Harrogate.
The marketing agents for the retail part of the development are Lawrence Hannah of Blossom Street, York.
The residential element will be handled by Hunters of York.
The Oakgate Group has a successful history of regenerating run-down buildings in North Yorkshire Previous projects include Northern House on Rougier Street in York, Tanner Row Car Park on George Hudson Street in York and Harrogate House on Parliament Street in Harrogate.
The marketing agents for the retail part of the development are Lawrence Hannah of Blossom Street, York. The residential element will be handled by Hunters of York.
Miles Lawrence of Lawrence Hannah said:
We anticipate a serious amount of interest in the retail space, providing a timely boost to York’s economy.”
Is the concrete structure really “sound”? Maybe the developers should read this: https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-reinforced-concrete-56078
Just needs tearing down surely? A lick of paint and some glass panels ain’t fooling nobody.
A tin of gold paint doesn’t turn this eyesore into anything other than a gold eyesore. Level it and start again. It’s vile, always has been and always will be. Btw. It also stinks, inside and out! All the money you think you’re saving will be spent digging up the foundations to re install the plumbing…
This visionary proposal is brilliant. I put forward a similar idea a few years ago, suggesting that rather than pull it down the building could “healed”, I even suggested that the ideas of Hundertwasser be incorporated
It has a look of Peninsula Heights, Vauxhall, London, where Lord (Jeffrey) Archer had an amazing penthouse. It was refurbished by Regalian plc in the early 1990’s.
Like Stonebow House it was built in the 1960’s and was formerly called ‘Alembic House’ and built for the United Nations.
Great idea looks great from the image shown. Would have said it needed pulling down until I saw this
It deserves no pity and no halfway solution, simply tear it down to expose the classic buildings behind.
Really happy to hear this place is having a facelift – It’s only 20 odd years overdue but better late than never!
Just what York needs – more expensive flats.
Not sure that replacing unfashionable 60s concrete with a throwback to 80s plate-glass is exactly a step forward either.
Still, as long as the developers make a packet, who gives a toss?
Totally agree, Bob.