SUNDERLAND’S new Travelodge hotel will play a vital role in helping the city make the most of high-profile events such as next summer’s concert by US superstar Rihanna, announced today.
Opening the new venue in High Street West yesterday, Mayor of Sunderland Coun Iain Kay said: “We have a critical shortage of bed spaces here in the city centre and I know that has been a major hindrance in our efforts to take advantage of some of the events we host.”
The development would also be a major boost for struggling businesses in Sunniside and attract more investment.
“This hotel is located in one of the areas we want to develop for the economic benefit of the city and this site is still surrounded by development opportunities,” said Coun Kay.
“I predict that in a few years’ we will struggle to recognise this part of the city from what it was.”
The £6million 82-bedroom development has created 18 jobs.
The new team have all been recruited by the Job Centre Plus’ Long Term Unemployed Scheme – which helps to get the long-term unemployed back into the workplace.
Travelodge bosses are delighted with progress on the project, which has opened a month ahead of schedule and has already played host to its first paying guests.
“This weekend was our first opening and we had in excess of 40 rooms occupied even though we have not actually gone out to sale,” said North East manager Jason Dalus.
“That’s more than 50 per cent occupancy just from people walking in and word of mouth.
“Our other city centre hotel regularly has a 90 per cent occupancy rate, so the demand is definitely there.”