A HOTEL looks set to create dozens of jobs as it rises from the ashes of a devastating fire.
The Quality Hotel, in Boldon Colliery, was badly damaged in the blaze 18 months ago.
Now the foundations are being laid for a brighter future: the venue is set to reopen later this year with the prospect of 50 new jobs being created.
Mike Chawla, director, said the rebuilt hotel will have conference facilities for more than 300 people as well as a swimming pool and themed restaurant.
Mr Chawla said: “Once we are open, we think we will have to recruit 50 staff.
“I am hopeful it will lead to better employment opportunities in this area.
“My design team have been telling me it should be finished by September or October, so we are looking to be open by then.
“It will be ultra-modern, with a state-of-the-art function room, a pool and steam room and fitness centre.”
The hotel’s entrance and reception areas were gutted in the fire, although the majority of its rooms were unaffected.
After the fire, many staff were relocated to other sites. However, some are now back working at the Quality Hotel.
Mr Chawla said: “We lost some staff when the fire happened, but we still have some key staff who we will be able to bring back with us when we are fully operational.”
It was in November 2010 that fire ripped through the venue, in Witney Way, with more than 20 guests and staff having to flee the scene as the fire took hold.
It was started after a towel caught fire when it was left on a heater in the sauna room.
Wedding, party and conference plans were left in tatters after the blaze.
“The fire was just one of those things we couldn’t do anything about,” added Mr Chawla.
“We were just pleased that we managed to get all of the people and staff out of the hotel safely.
“It was very scary.”
But Mr Chawla said the focus of the hotel is firmly on the future.