Stonebow House to be reborn in gold and glass under radical redevelopment plan

An artist's impression of how Stonebow House will look
20 Apr 2016 @ 7.33 pm
| Environment, News
An artist's impression of how Stonebow House would look
An artist’s impression of how Stonebow House would look

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.

Brutal or beautiful? The controversial Stonebow
Brutal or beautiful? The controversial Stonebow. Photographs: YorkMix

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:

This is a key gateway site into York city centre.

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.

Future uncertain for remaining tenants
Future uncertain for remaining tenants

Current tenants

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.

stonegate-house-york-pano

But the most famous tenant, live music venue The Duchess, will remain open and gigging until at least the summer.

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.”

A new chapter
A new chapter

‘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.

New apartments are planned for the upper floors
New apartments are planned for the upper floors

Revitalise Hungate

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:

This imaginative redevelopment of Stonebow House will revitalize the Hungate area of York and provide an exciting range of retail opportunities.

We anticipate a serious amount of interest in the retail space, providing a timely boost to York’s economy.”