'Iconic' building once home to Nottingham's oldest sports shop could be turned into hotel

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

An 'iconic' building on a key route between Nottingham railway station and the city centre is set for a complete transformation after it was the subject of numerous bids – with a hotel one of the uses under consideration.

Nottingham City Council, which owns the 19 century City Buildings in Carrington Street, has received “very strong interest” after putting it on the market with an asking price of up to £4m.

It believes the upper floors of the five-storey site – which used to be home to the Redmayne & Todd sports shop and now accommodates the likes of Caffe Nero and Subway in the ground floor units – could create jobs if it is transformed into offices and creative workshops.

The project is the latest in a line of developments earmarked for Carrington Street, which forms part of the so-called “southern gateway” between the station and intu Broadmarsh .

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Councillor Jon Collins, leader of the council, said the council invited bids to buy and redevelop the building and it has received “numerous” offers, which are now being considered.

“There’s potential above the ground floor for a hotel, offices or apartments,” he said.

“We’re pretty clear that we don’t want student accommodation in there because there are better uses, but other than that we’re interested to hear what potential developers are proposing.

Councillor Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council

Councillor Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council

“It’s a big building in a prominent location, and will be in an even more prominent location once we begin to build the new car park and environmental works in Carrington Street and Collin Street.

“So it’s a big opportunity for a very significant development of an important landmark building that’s part of the wider Broadmarsh area scheme.”

The 55,000 sq ft City Buildings was built between 1896 and 1897 at numbers 28 to 48 Carrington Street, with part of it also overseeing Canal Street.

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It was designed by Nottingham architect Gilbert Smith Doughty for J Wright & Sons, in the renaissance revival style, as a speculative development of ground-floor shops and upper-floor warehouse space.

In a report to potential investors, the council said the upper floors have survived in their largely original condition, but are in need of maintenance.

They consist of a mix of offices, workshops, studios and storage, which are only partly let and generating almost £40,000 in rent each year.

The council said it “would particularly welcome expressions of interest from the creative industry and job creation uses”, subject to planning permission.

The City Buildings, on the left, in Carrington Street, Nottingham

The ground-floor shops, also including the Picnic Basket, Ladbrokes, a barber shop and tattoo studio, generate £115,000 in annual rent.

Grants have been provided by the council through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage scheme to cover up to 80 percent of the cost for reinstating and repairing original shop fronts.

The council was looking for either bids of between £3m and £4m for the entire building, or offering a 999-year lease for the upper parts only.

It expects to announce the successful bidder within the next four weeks and refurbishment work could even begin as soon as next year.

Other proposed projects earmarked for Carrington Street include a redevelopment of 19 to 26 Carrington Street into coffee shops and offices, as well as a revamp of the Gresham Hotel into 16 luxury waterside apartments.

The City Buildings, on the right, in Carrington Street, Nottingham

Lorraine Baggs, head of investment at Invest in Nottingham, said: “The City Buildings is one of our most iconic pieces of architecture in the heart of the city centre and crying out to be brought back in to use.

“Therefore it’s not at all surprising it has caught the eye of many investors, being so close to the station hub and intrinsic to the dynamic new developments around the Broadmarsh and southern gateway.

“The amount of significant interest in the buildings echo the level of interest Invest in Nottingham is seeing from investors and occupiers throughout the city.”

News of the potential development was welcomed by the public.

Civil servant Lisa Riley, 48, of Carlton, said: “It’s a nice building but looks very run-down at the moment, so it’s good they’re redeveloping it. It will bring money into Nottingham.”

Mirella Marina, 46, a translator who lives in Nottingham, said: “Bringing new jobs would be positive but I would not touch the building too much.

“You have to respect the time it was developed and the architecture.”

Law student Rory MacMahon, 20, added: “If it creates jobs then that’s a good thing. If the plan is for offices then that seems desirable.”

Home to Nottingham's iconic sports shop

The City Buildings, in Carrington Street, was once home to the Redmayne & Todd sports shop

The City Buildings is perhaps best known as the home of sports equipment merchant Redmayne & Todd.

One of the first companies to move into the corner unit bridging Carrington Street and Canal Street, it was based there from 1903 to 1993, when it went into administration.

The business was bought and continued trading under the Redmayne & Todd name from a unit in the Broadmarsh Centre until 2001.

Hilary Silvester, chairwoman of the Nottingham Civic Society, said: “It’s highly regarded and a splendid building, which we always associate with Redmayne & Todd.

“People have compared it to buildings in London and it does enhance Nottingham by giving the city some of its character.

“So we certainly want to see it kept, looked after and used for a good purpose.”