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Derelict site sale to boost Piccadilly revamp
A DERELICT building in York which once housed a bus depot and an aircraft design firm has been put up for sale as part of a city-centre street’s planned regeneration.
Reynard’s Garage, in Piccadilly, which was built in 1921 and is owned by City of York Council, has gone on the market and may be turned into new shops, offices, housing or a hotel, with potential buyers having until next month to make offers.
The 10,600sq ft building has been empty for more than ten years and is being marketed as a “refurbishment or redevelopment opportunity”. The site is considered crucial to rejuvenating Piccadilly, where plans to turn the Banana Warehouse building and neighbouring stores into flats and new shops have recently been approved.
The land was previously part of a development partnership between the council and LaSalle Ltd, owners of the nearby Coppergate Centre and other Piccadilly sites, including the Banana Warehouse.
The council said LaSalle was now planning to individually develop several of its sites and the authority wanted to quickly bring forward a scheme for the Reynard’s site. It said there had already been “strong interest” and it hoped to complete a sale and move to the planning process as soon as possible.
Council leader James Alexander said: “Along with proposals for the other side of Piccadilly and the progress made with the former White Swan Hotel, we will see this great street transformed to the benefit of local jobs and the local economy.”
A council planning update said public consultation on firm plans for the site should be held “at an early stage” and it was likely to be included on any local list of York heritage assets.
If it was included on the list, officials said improving the existing building would be “desirable”, but it could be demolished and redeveloped.
York conservationist Alison Sinclair said the building’s local list nomination meant it should be retained. She said: “It would allow all sorts of options – I don’t see it as a residential development, but I think it would be well-suited to becoming a useful retail showroom and I am very supportive of it being brought back into use.”
York Retail Forum chairman Frank Wood said he would be “delighted” if the site became shops. He said: “It depends on demand, but a high-profile retail brand would be very attractive for people walking along Piccadilly and would improve the situation for retailers already in that area.”
Rich transport history of neglected city corner
REYNARD’S Garage was originally built in 1921 as the bus and trolleybus depot for the former York Corporation.
It closed when the new Fulford bus garage opened in April 1931 and was then taken over by Airspeed Ltd, founded by Nevil Shute Norway, previously deputy chief engineer to “bouncing bomb” inventor Barnes Wallis at the Airship Guarantee Co.
Mr Shute Norway – better known as the author Nevil Shute – began designing aircraft and gliders, but the firm moved to Portsmouth in 1933 when it could not find space to expand in York. The site was then let to Reynard’s of York, founded by Frank Reynard, who ran the Lion Bus Service and also started one of York’s first car-hire firms.
The garage later housed the Megazone laser game business, but has been disused for more than a decade and was attacked by arsonists in 2010.
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