Budget fashion chain Primark is planning to restore the façade of a city centre building to reflect its historic heritage, when it relocates from its current Queen Street outlet later this year.
It was reported in December that Primark was planning to move from its current Cardiff store at 43 Queen Street into the building, almost directly opposite, that will be vacated by British Home Stores when it closes later this month.
But a planing application submitted to Cardiff Council now shows that Primark, as future owners of the site, also plans to completely overhaul the frontage of 50-54 Queen Street, currently occupied by BHS, with the aim of renovating the 1980s-style shop front so that it is more in keeping with the Victorian and Edwardian buildings that characterise the rest of the busy shopping street.
Planning documents submitted by Milton Keynes-based 3d Architects on behalf of Primark describe how 50-54 Queen Street became home to FW Woolworth in 1913, with a Victorian/Edwardian shop front common to many of the properties in the area.
But the original frontage was replaced first in the 1960s, and then in the 1980s with “brutally designed” concrete cladding, which can still be seen on the front of BHS today.
The documents from 3d Architects state: “The current façade presents an aggressive stance to the street with the chamfered concrete panels thrusting forward at the first floor level to assert the building’s presence. The panels are large format and have the appearance of a wide mouthful of badly stained teeth sneering at the pedestrians below.”
Primark plans to remove all of the Queen Street frontage, and replace it with a façade inspired by the 1913 building, with the three storeys facing on to the street at the same level, rather than the upper floors being set back, and tall vertical windows. It will be finished in the original limestone, contrasted with black granite.
Primark says it hopes to create a finished building that “pays respect to the heritage of the street”.
Work will also be carried out to the building’s disused Frederick Street entrance, with large display windows, and replacing the “shabby” slates with stone detailing to match the front of the store.
The planning documents also reveal that Primark plans to take over all five storeys of the BHS building, with the first three floors creating 85,824 square feet of retails space. The fourth and fifth floors will be used as for stock rooms, staff areas and service areas.