Local practice DC Architecture has drawn up plans for a Roman visitor attraction in York alongside more than 200 flats, a hotel and retail outlets
Backed by Yorkshire developer North Star, hotel operator Native and the York Archaeological Trust, the ambitious Roman Quarter scheme would cover more than 2ha at the heart of the historic city.
The proposals would see the demolition of the Northern House, Rougier House and Society Bar buildings on Rougier Street (see image below).
A two-year archaeological dig of the site would then be carried out, with significant finds expected from up to 2,000 years ago. These would be displayed in the basement of the new attraction, which would be double the size of the city’s famous Jorvik Viking Centre.
Elsewhere in the development would be 228 apartments, a 145-bed hotel and 1,400m2 of cafés, restaurants and shops.
York Archaeological Trust chief executive David Jennings said the proposals offered a ‘unique opportunity’ to understand York’s origins.
‘The location, next to the original Roman crossing of the River Ouse, and the scale of the dig site make us anticipate very exciting discoveries that link Roman Eboracum with York’s future,’ he said.
‘Items discovered in similar ground conditions in Coppergate helped change the world’s perception of the Vikings and made York world-renowned. The chance to do the same for the Romans makes this one of the most exciting projects in the world.
‘Here, we can begin to understand how the Roman Empire shaped and fundamentally changed the world, creating immense temporal currents that can still be felt today. In its time, Roman Eboracum changed from Roman military base, through to a provincial capital where emperors lived and died. For periods, therefore, York was at the centre of the Roman world.’
A North Star spokesperson added: ‘These proposals will be a major boost to the city of York and replace unattractive buildings with a new, iconic development that the whole city can be proud of.
‘We are undertaking an extensive public consultation exercise to encourage as many people to get involved as possible to help shape the plans so we can offer maximum benefits to York.
‘It will be the final piece in the jigsaw to complete the renaissance of this part of the city centre and also deliver something globally unique to York.’
Local residents and businesses will have the opportunity to find out more about the plans at a public exhibition on 4 July at Society, 1 Rougier Street. A planning application will be submitted in the coming months.
Existing buildings on Rougier Street in York