Historic Leah’s Yard building to be given new lease of life as a creative and small independent business hub.
Leah’s Yard to become independents hub
The historic Leah’s Yard building on Cambridge Street is set for a new lease of life after new custodians were selected by Sheffield City Council following a bidding process.
Sheffield Science Park Company (SSPCo) submitted the successful bid, beating out competition from the likes of the Cambridge Street Partnership.
SSPCo have teamed up with the Rockingham Group — fronted by Sheffield businessman James O’Hara — for the plans, which includes spaces for local independent traders and small businesses.
“Sheffield is home to so many extremely talented people who develop incredible products, but they rarely reside in the City Centre. Our vision for Leah’s Yard is to bring all that together in one place and provide these businesses with a literal shop window and an affordable route into the city centre.
“We will create a genuine independent community here, and as part of the Leah’s Yard package, tenants will have access to business support and advice from our creative and experienced professional team as well.”Tom Wolfenden, CEO of Sheffield Science Park Company
Bids were invited for making use of the Leah’s Yard space as part of the ongoing Heart of the City II Sheffield City Centre regeneration project.
Shops, Creative Spaces and Events at Leah’s Yard
Drawing on its history as a collection of ‘Little Mesters’ workshops, the ‘new’ Leah’s Yard will feature a number of spaces for local independent shops, makers, creatives and small businesses.
Ground floor studios will house makers and retailers whilst upper floors will accommodate “the best of Sheffield’s small businesses”.
The new custodians also promise to offer a range of events including makers markets and themed evenings, with something for everybody to enjoy.
“We want people to visit Leah’s Yard and have a memorable experience, both in terms of the products you can view and buy, but also the atmosphere of the place and the people you interact with.
“First and foremost, it needs to be a place people want to gather in and wander through, regardless of whether you actually need to buy a specific item. Retail and city centres are evolving quickly. They are becoming more about this tangible shared experience, as well as supporting more independent and local businesses. Leah’s Yard will deliver both.”James O’Hara, The Rockingham Group
Work started on regenerating Leah’s Yard
Structural work began on Leah’s Yard last year. New works will now take place to bring the Grade II* building into a safe and useable state, with contemporary but complimentary additions to be made to the space.
As an important feature in the Heart of the City II development, Leah’s Yard will sit alongside the planned Cambridge Street Collective — which will see the old ‘Henry’s Corner’ up to the old Bethel Chapel developed into a “cultural and social focal point” for the City Centre.
Much of the original heritage and features of the buildings are planned to be kept.
“We are working to retain attractive heritage across Heart of the City, while also ensuring we create new spaces that are usable and sustainable to the local economy. Leah’s Yard has a great story within our city and it encapsulates the independent, hands-on identity that Sheffield is so well known for.
“The redevelopment will bring the building back to its former glory, offering bright new opportunities for our independent business community as it begins its recovery from the pandemic, as well as creating new reasons for people to visit the city centre and shop local.”Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment
The new Leah’s Yard is scheduled to open in ‘early 2023’.
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