Northgate House and Halifax Central Library are set to be bulldozed and replaced with a major new shopping development under new plans unveiled by Calderdale Council.
Bidding has opened today to acquire the site for a major retail development when council staff move out in spring 2016.
The council has received £1.3 million funding from the Leeds City Region to clear the site next to Halifax bus station in the heart of the town centre, to make it a more attractive prospect for developers.
Ian Gray, director for economy and environment at the council, said: “We’ve got a lot of small, independent shops in Halifax town centre, and one of the big things we’ve been missing is some of the bigger retail shops like Primark that attract a lot of people into towns.
“For us, it’s about creating a site that has great accessibility for shoppers coming in and complements what we’ve already got rather than competes with it.”
Mr Gray said there were a number of developers who have expressed an interest in owning the site.
James Crawley, lead for corporate projects at the council, said: “Since we first marketed the site in late-2013, the economy has markedly improved in the region.
“That, coupled with the funding we’ve received to clear the site, will hopefully mean it is a lot more attractive as a proposition.”
It is unclear yet what the site will look like as this will be up to the developers and planners to negotiate. Mr Gray said it will most likely consist of either one large retail unit or more units in a shopping centre area.
Deputy leader of Calderdale Council Coun Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) said: “We are confident that improvements in the economy and selling the site cleared of buildings will help attract more developers to take it forward. Regenerating this site is a key priority for the Council to enable continued growth of our local economy, and ensure that the retail and leisure offer in Halifax remains competitive with other towns and cities,” he said.
“We have very few larger retailers in the town centre at the moment, and we know that Halifax needs more of these to bring in more shoppers and help smaller independent stores to prosper.”
The plans are in addition to other regeneration projects taking place across the town centre over the next few years including the redevelopment of the Piece Hall, the refurbishment of the Princess Building and the proposals to improve Halifax train station.
Northgate House is currently used as office space for council staff, but will be fully vacated in spring 2016 as part of the council’s office savings strategy to locate staff in fewer offices in the town centre.
The closure of the Central Library will coincide with the opening of the new state-of-the-art library and archive next to the transformed Piece Hall in spring 2016 - demolition work will start after this.