WORK is under way on a £15million extension to Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre.
Morgan Sindall, a leading UK construction, infrastructure and design company, will undertake the extension, which will bring Primark into the centre and create about 150 jobs.
Jonathan Buckle, manager of the Bridges, said: “It’s great to see work starting on site and we’re very excited about the transformation we’re going to see over the coming months.
“We’ve worked hand-in-hand with Sunderland City Council to ensure we proposed a viable extension strategy and I can’t wait to see our ideas take shape.
“What’s more we’ll be bringing cranes back to the skyline of Sunderland city centre and creating much-needed jobs for the local economy.”
Centre director Andy Bradley added: “Our ambition is to strengthen the Bridges’ reputation as one of the best shopping and fashion destinations in the North East for our 21million customers who visit each year.
“We want to ensure people living in Sunderland don’t feel they need to look outside the city to meet their retail needs.
“Therefore, we need to continually improve the retail mix as well as the look and feel of the shopping environment to make the centre a more attractive destination to our customers.”
Gordon Ray, regional managing director for Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re so pleased further investment is being made in the centre of the city. The new extension will bring additional footfall to the already popular Bridges shopping centre.
“Morgan Sindall has a long track record of delivering high- quality retail facilities and is able to draw on a wealth of experience in this sector. We’re looking forward to building on our already strong relationship with (centre owners) Land Securities in the North East.”
As part of the expansion plans Land Securities will deliver a three-storey 60,000 sq ft anchor store for Primark which will be double the size of its current location ensuring that the retailer has the space it needs to continue trading successfully in Sunderland.
The expansion will also create a new entrance to improve the visual outlook and environment on High Street West and completion is expected in July .