A brewery site, which has stood empty for 14 years, is to become a high-tech business centre as part of a 20-year rolling redevelopment of Sunderland city centre.
Construction and services giant Carillion has signed a pioneering deal with the city council to breath life back into a number of neglected Wearside sites. The contract is worth at least £100m over the first eight years of the programme and potentially up to £800m if the plan continues for the full two decades.
Siglion — a new partnership venture between Carillion and Sunderland City Council managed by Igloo Regeneration — has now been set up to regenerate publicly owned land into commercial development, housing, shopping and leisure facilities.
Topping the development hit list is the site of the former Vaux brewery which closed in 1999. All the buildings were demolished soon after and the land fenced but untouched. Under the Government’s £87m “City Deal” for Sunderland the site has been earmarked for a new central business district.
There will also be a £5m project to establish an International Advanced Manufacturing Park — the size of 140 football pitches — adjacent to Nissan’s Wearside production plant. The new complex, to the west of A19, would house automotive, off-shore and other hi-tech enterprises.
Siglion has also acquired an investment portfolio of industrial, retail and office property — at Seaburn, Chapelgarth, Farringdon Row, Holmeside and parts of the city’s East End — from the city authority. These will be actively managed by the joint venture company to increase their value, job opportunities and economic return to the city and wider region.
“The people of Sunderland are now going to get something that they have wanted for 100 years and have been campaigning about for 50 years, thanks to the work of officers and this council,” commented city council leader Paul Watson. “This is a major achievement that has been delivered against the odds as Central Government has been cutting its spending.”
Richard Howson is chief executive of Wolverhampton-based Carillion. “We are delighted to have achieved financial close on this major innovative programme,” he said. “We look forward to working with Sunderland City Council and to engaging with local communities and businesses to deliver the authority’s vision for the city, which will bring major benefits to the people of Sunderland and act as a catalyst for further inward investment.”
It’s hoped the 20-year initiative will not only revitalise the greater Sunderland area but generate as many as 10,000 permanent jobs. “In agreeing the details of this joint venture with the city council, Igloo and Carillion are dedicating investment and resources to deliver this regeneration, spearheading a step-change in the Sunderland economy,” said John Tatham, the partnerships director at Igloo Regeneration.