ALMOST 50 leisure jobs could be created in a million pound investment boost to the city.
Former racehorse trainer Alan Le Blond is putting in about £500,000 to turn an old school building in Hetton into a 17-bedroomed hotel, creating half a dozen jobs.
And one of the region’s biggest leisure groups has put in £500,000 to open a new bar/restaurant in Hylton Riverside, which would bring up to 40 jobs.
The Apartment Group will launch Dr Feelgood’s above its only Wearside venue – Liberty Brown – later this month.
Two flats have been transformed to create the new bar, which will have a separate entrance and identity.
Apartment Group owner Duncan Fisher, raised in East Herrington, has had considerable success in Newcastle – with well-known bars Florita’s, Madame Koos and House of Mr Smith – but wanted to open his 12th venture in his home town.
“Dr Feelgood’s is a bar that would probably do really well in Newcastle, but Liberty Brown has proved so popular that we decided to do it here,” he said. “Not in terms of takings, but in terms of being busy, Liberty Brown is our busiest venue in the group. We do 3,000 meals a week here. I knew it would do well, but I never thought it would do this well.”
The 200-capacity bar, which will seat about 80 people and serve tapas, will also feature a roof terrace.
Duncan said: “We’re in the process of recruiting and are expecting to create around 30 to 40 new jobs.”
Liberty Brown opened in December 2011 and saw £400,000-worth of improvements made to the former Old Orleans restaurant.
Alan Le Blond hopes to open his hotel – Hotel Le Spring – by September and has applied to Sunderland City Council for planning approval.
The Victorian building in Bog Row, built as a girls’ school in 1894, is standing empty after most recently being used as council offices.
Retired breeder and trainer Mr Le Blond, 75, of nearby South Lodge Farm, said: “I think it’s a good old area.
“I think the character of the place should be retained, and that road in particular.”
Mr Le Blond, whose horse The Jarrovian won the Governor’s Cup in Barbados in 1987 and was named Horse of the Year in Trinidad and Tobago the same year, retired from racing 15 years ago aged 60.
He has since developed seven five-star cottages from barn and stable buildings on his farm.
He also runs the Fox and Hounds in Hetton, as well as being in the process of converting the Three Tuns in Easington Lane into four houses.
Consultation period on his hotel plans end on July 18.