A music venue, new hotel, Champagne bar and the return of Chambers - that’s the wish list of Sunderland people who want to see one of its landmark buildings brought back to life.
Hutchinson’s Buildings, which includes Mackie’s Corner, has been put into the limelight after Lee Anderson, 39, from Silksworth, raised concerns about the future of the High Street West site.
If these beautiful buildings were really looked after and renovated, potential businesses might consider taking over.June Wintrip
It has been empty for several years, with Sweet Home Alabama vacating the corner site in 2013 to move to Fawcett Street, with the shop fronts boarded up and an area sectioned off to pedestrians due to safety concerns.
Gentoo, which owns the site, says it has already carried out work to ensure it is not a risk and plans to do more this year.
It is continuing to market the site for redevelopment.
Among those to have their say via Facebook was Heather Fagan who said: “It will be a crying shame if this building goes to wrack and ruin.
“Maybe if the building had a really good clean up, clean the stone work, make the roof water tight, sort the windows out etc and the ground floor made more appealing an investor might be interested.
“I wonder if the MAC trust, the company who have the old fire station and the old pubs around the Empire, would be interested?
“I know it’s a bit far out of their area but they seem to be keen to hang on to these historic buildings.”
June Wintrip added: “If these beautiful buildings were really looked after and renovated, potential businesses might consider taking over.
“They won’t at the moment because they will think Sunderland City Council aren’t interested or prepared to help.
Deb Coatsworth said: “This would make a grand hotel, but will be left to rot and then the council will have a good enough excuse to demolish it.”
Ryan Calvert replied: “You’re right Deb, with all of the talk surrounding making a hotel out of the old Joplings building, surely you’d think this would be a more suitable and desirable option?”
Samantha Burdess also thinks it could be a good location for new visitor accommodation.
She said: “What an amazing building for a hotel. “It needs more than shops, it needs an O2, a Champagne bar, a comedy club, bespoke hotels, craft beer venue etc the list could go on.
“Make Sunderland the place to go.”
Lisa Sanderson said: “Disgusting if this beautiful old building is knocked down.
“The rubbish new builds that eventually get thrown up are ugly and cheap and robbing the skyline of our city centre of any history and class,
“Shame on those responsible.”
Pete Bogg posted: “I think the only option would be student lets. “Would conversion to flats be practical, is there demand?
“Student accommodation would be popular with residential areas where students don’t always get on with the locals and would free up those houses for family rentals.”
But Nathan Shezza suggested: “Bring back chambers nightclub for over 30’s only.”