Sheffield’s iconic Eye Witness Works are tipped to become the city’s coolest place to live, with CAPITAL&CENTRIC on board to restore the Grade II listed cutlery works in a £20m project.
The regeneration and heritage specialists have exchanged contracts to acquire the buildings from Sheffield City Council. They are now working on plans to breathe new life into the former industrial works on the Devonshire Quarter’s Milton Street.
CAPITAL&CENTRIC plan to mix design-led contemporary living with the Works’ centuries-old original features. They plan around 100 loft apartments and townhouses, alongside a new café/bar on Thomas Street. Restored heritage buildings will sit alongside new build elements, with plans to develop open space and private gardens within the three central courtyards of the Eye Witness Works.
A newly-released artist’s impression of the prominent Milton Street elevation and the proposed café/bar on Thomas Street shows how the building could look once complete.
The much-loved former cutlery works has been a prominent resident on the street since 1852 – although the first registered building at the site was in 1838. For 150 years it was home to Taylor’s Eye Witness Ltd, a Sheffield success story producing pocket and kitchen knives in industrious pre-war Britain.
The aim of the £20m plus project is to retain the building’s industrial charm for those wanting to live in the city’s vibrant quarter. The looming 40-foot chimney will stay, while interconnected courtyards and a private cobbled street will help foster an Eye Witness community.
It’ll be CAPITAL&CENTRIC’s first foray into Sheffield, having built up a loyal following for their quirky design in Manchester, Liverpool and Salford. There, the team is custodians of five of the city’s historic mills, each in various stages of transformation.
Sheffield City Council launched the competition for the site following a property swap with Taylor’s. Re-locating the cutlery business to a modern production and distribution site at Sheffield Parkway freed up the rare opportunity to save the dilapidated building for future generations.
It is hoped that a planning application would be determined by the end of the year, with the first residents moving in their furniture by the end of 2020.
Adam Higgins, co-founder of CAPITAL&CENTRIC, said:
“Sheffield has such a rich heritage and we’ve been anxious to get our hands on one of its historic buildings. Eye Witness Works is a perfect first venture for us in the city, it has stacks of untapped potential but has become dilapidated over the years.
“The building is right up our street, as we love industrial heritage. We take pride in retaining as much original charm as we possibly can, all the while delivering design-led homes that are a cut above some of the pokey, whitewashed flats you tend to find in our city centres.
“We want to create a real community at Eye Witness, delivering a lasting legacy for Sheffield that the City Council can be proud of. We can’t wait to get started.”
Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at SCC, said:
“These are exciting plans for Eye Witness Works from a great and forward-thinking company – it’s going to be exciting to see a new era for one of the city’s most iconic and historic buildings.
“The Devonshire Quarter is a key part of the city and its regeneration is an essential part of the future of the City Centre. Parts of the area around West One and Devonshire Green are already well established but the area around Milton St is currently a bit run down with several vacant sites.
“We have all seen the way Kelham and St Vincent’s are changing at the moment and we want to ensure that the Devonshire Quarter, which is even closer to the heart of the City Centre, can undergo a similar transformation.
“The city centre is changing rapidly with more families and different communities choosing to live here to take full advantage of our excellent nightlife, dining and cultural offer.”