BUILDING work on a new multi-million pound hotel in Sunderland city centre is due to start next month.
The contemporary five-storey Premier Inn, in St Michael’s Way, will have 125 rooms, a restaurant, bar and meetings rooms.
Developer GB Group said the development will form a “key gateway” in the city.
It comes after countless calls for more hotel accommodation in the city to help drive tourism and ensure Sunderland does not lose to Newcastle and Gateshead when visitors come to Wearside.
Sunderland University and Sunderland City Council have worked with GB Group to support the new hotel development.
The partners said the project was “a significant investment for the city” which will create jobs and support growth in Sunderland’s leisure and tourism industries.
Phil Marsh, Director of Estates and Facilities at the university, said: “The University continues to be hugely supportive of this partnership development which will see further private sector investment made into the city centre, creating jobs and supporting growth.
“The hotel will provide further scope for growth in the University’s events and conference business, UniSpace, and is a welcome addition to Sunderland’s leisure and business tourism offer. The physical design and landscaping will continue the improvements made in the connectivity between the city campus and city centre and builds on the investment made by the University over the past eight years.”
Sunderland City Council Cabinet Secretary Councillor Mel Speding said: “It’s great to hear that work is about to start on the site. This has been a real partnership project between the university and council as owners of the land and buildings, the University’s Masterplan for the area and GB Group, the developer.
“As well as seeing a new use for the site and the buildings, we’re getting more bedroom space for visitors who need and want to be next to the city centre and the university for their business or leisure.”
Brandon Riley, Director at GB Group, said: “I am delighted that we are now in a position to move forward with this exciting new hotel development. This project is another great example of GB Group’s developer contractor capability.
“Working together with the University, the City Council, Premier Inn and our funding partners this exciting new development has now become a reality. However, it’s much more than just a new hotel, it’s an fantastic example of how the public and private sector can work together in partnership to achieve a common goal.”
Also included in the £6million development scheme will be repairs to and remodelling of the Grade II-listed former Gas Board building, which houses The Art Studio, to make the building water and wind tight.
The Gas Board buildings are owned by Sunderland City Council, which agreed that they should form part of the project to enable the scheme to progress.
Demolition of later additions to the original building, including a flat roof extension, lean-to structure and outbuildings will make way for the new hotel. Salvaging and recording of materials, including structures or detailing of archaeological significance, will be integral to the demolition.
The plans will see the hotel entered from Silksworth Row through a new public space overlooked by the lobby and restaurant/bar area. A drop-off zone for deliveries and arrival of hotel guests will be created on Silksworth Row.
Hope Street will close and make way for hotel parking.
The development has been designed by architects Faulkner Brown with Mills & Reeve LLP acting as legal advisors to GB Group. It is due for completion by February 2015.