Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time looking at Stonebow House. Since its recent remodelling, as well as looking at it we can look through it, from one side to the other. Or look at it and see it reflecting buildings around it, in a way it didn’t do before. Or both together.
There’s a man on St Saviourgate, by one of the taxis parked at the taxi rank, looking through from his side as I took the photo from the other side, standing on Stonebow. The glass also reflects nearby pedestrians on Stonebow, and to the right, part of the telephone exchange and the newer build and cranes in the Hungate area down the road.
At some point this space on the ground floor will be fitted out and filled, maybe has been since I was last up there. I was hanging on and holding back this update until the building’s remodelling looked finished, but as things seem to have stalled in terms of the completion and occupation of the ground floor I thought I’d report on it anyway. Mainly because of the pleasing reflections that it now offers from the expanses of ground floor glass it didn’t have before.
I felt I needed to see something pleasing in the new-look Stonebow House, as on the negative side of things it does mean, as previously mentioned here on these pages, that the ordinary public now can’t nip up onto the walkway and the car park deck to take photos of the surrounding changing scene.
Another quite pleasing thing is the retention of the tree, a healthy looking whitebeam. As I mentioned some months back, there had been an application to fell the tree, to make landscaping easier at this end of the site. There were objections, and the application was later withdrawn, so the tree remains, and looked handsome this spring, despite the unfinished look of the area around it.
Up above the glassy sides of the lower level the former office block of grey concrete has become an apartment block of concrete with brown panels added.
Balconies too. Balconies on Stonebow House, who’d have thought it.
I wasn’t offended by the old-style building and have no particular view on this change on the upper parts. A while back I asked on Twitter what people thought, and had an interesting range of responses. (Thanks to everyone who answered.)
The way the place has changed at ground level is really interesting, not just in terms of the novelty of being able to see through from St Saviourgate to Stonebow and vice versa, but particularly in the corner where the concrete steps used to be.
The transformation here is striking. The opening up of it, so that it is more overlooked and visible from various angles. There are bike racks here now. Some in use, which suggests that this area by the Stonebow is seen as as a safer and friendlier spot than it perhaps seemed before.
From a concrete-covered corner to a brighter place, with bikes.
On one hand there’s the building itself — which I’ve found very interesting, which is why I’ve bothered to go back quite a few times in recent months to take photos of it — and then there’s the marketing of it …
York city living moves to the east as gentrification takes hold, reported the Yorkshire Post, in October last year, in an article in its property section promoting the new-look Stonebow House: ‘a new city centre hotspot that’s attracting hipsters and high-end buyers from all over the country and beyond’.
Quite a change then, from the widely despised old office block sticking up above the charming street of St Saviourgate.
‘Well-heeled buyers have spotted the potential of the city centre’s eastern gateway’, said the article.
Perhaps one of the new residents up there can carry on the tradition of recording the additions and changes to the local area skyline and streetscape, now that the steps that took us up there are gone.
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I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes with all my long-winded wanderings all over York compiling this resident’s record of York and its changes. If you’re feeling ‘well-heeled’, or just feeling like you appreciate the particular perspective provided on these pages — (independent and thoughtful) — then contributions to my shoe replacement/virtual coffee funds are appreciated. This isn’t like Facebook — I have to pay the invoice to the hosting company every month.