De Gruchy – Landmark store’s stunning transformation completed
The second phase of the refurbishment of Jersey’s landmark De Gruchy store in St Helier has been carried out in an impressive scheme, completing the building’s stunning transformation and including both new build and refurbishment.
The £3.2 m project was designed by Axis Mason Architects, with the construction works being carried out by AC Mauger (Part of The Style Group).
The department store is one of the oldest in the UK and the Channel Islands, and has been trading in Jersey for over 200 years from a landmark building in the town’s main shopping area, King Street.
Founded by Abraham de Gruchy, and his wife, Marie Le Brocq in 1810, the original shop was based near St Peter’s Church which became the start of the de Gruchy’s store of today.
The property at the time was known as ‘La Grande Maison’, was previously the residence of two 18th century Lieutenant Bailiffs.
Due to its purpose-built nature, the store has vast open floors that are perfect for today’s retail requirements.
The Phase 2 scheme was split in to two main components – firstly an element of new build, and secondly the refurbishment of a part of the existing store. Together the two sections provide a total of 3,254m² of floor space.
The new build section of the works comprised the installation of piled foundations, supporting over 300 tonnes of structural steel and composite metal/concrete decking.
The main New Street elevation was clad in curtain walling, including a large curved section, with the remainder in blockwork with a ‘through colour’ render system applied.
This section of the work was complicated by the discovery of contaminated ground, which required remediation and necessitated a complete re-sequence of the work, together with a change in the foundation methodology, in order to minimise the effect of contamination.
The refurbishment element of the scheme involved the existing store’s former perfumery department and the houseware section on the first floor, which were adapted to open the entire area into one shop floor.
This required the removal of major structural elements, and therefore complex temporary works were required during the removal of the original features and the installation of the new elements.
This section of ‘cut and carve’ was hugely challenging due to the limited space and the tight constraints imposed by adjacent buildings – including the busy De Gruchy Arcade located directly adjacent to the work area.
Whilst challenging, this section of the project was extremely gratifying to the construction team, as it required the bringing together of the new structure with the original, some parts of which were up to 300 years old. This required accommodating comprehensive investigations by The Museum of London, on behalf of Jersey Heritage.
The first phase of the store’s refurbishment, carried out by Style Shopfitting, began in April 2015 and included work on all three trading floors – the ground, first and second floors. This work was conducted whilst the store remained open to trade.
A new escalator well in the middle of the floor was built and the store’s layout was reworked to make it ‘flow’ better for customers.
The works, included the installation of new energy efficient lighting as well as a number of new flooring finishes such as ceramic tiles, timber flooring, carpet and vinyl flooring.
The interior upgrade also featured the installation of high quality luxury washrooms and the refurbishment of two catering units, as well as many in-store treatments and service areas.
New offices and a customer reception area on the second floor of the store were also built in order to create an improved space for customers.
Many of the original period features that belonged to the building were brought back into play.
De Gruchy’s is owned by Ulster Stores, alongside Moores of Coleraine, The White House in Portrush and Clare’s of Llandudno in Wales.