A FORMER ice rink site’s £27million transformation is going smoothly as work gets under way to turn it into offices and more.
The regeneration of Durham’s riverside will keep 800 jobs in the city centre and has begun with construction at Freeman’s Reach, the former home of the Durham Wasps ice hockey team.
The Riverside Renewal Project has started with the demolition of the rink, and will see offices built for National Savings and Investments (NS&I), which will relocate from the opposite side of the Wear.
Planning permission was given in March, with the first phase to be completed in 2015 and house 395 NS&I employees.
A consortium Carillion Developments, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP has assembled a team of about 300 construction workers.
And, as well as office space, Freeman’s Reach will include a restaurant, cafe and visitor kiosk.
It will aim to use green energy, providing 75 per cent of its own power.
Neil McMillan, director of Carillion Developments, said: “Freeman’s Reach will prove to be a catalyst for regeneration in Durham City, not only on this site, but for other future developments in the city.
“In addition, we are setting a benchmark with sustainable and architecturally sympathetic buildings, of a quality Durham deserves.
Allan Cook, from Arlington Real Estate, said: “Having worked on the project for a number of years we are very excited to be moving into the delivery phase, marking a new chapter in history of Durham City.
“Being local to Durham I am proud to be involved in the renewal of this part of the City and am confident that the legacy of the project will be something that will be celebrated and enjoyed by future generations.”