Here’s some of the ongoing developments helping to make the city a better place in which to live, whilst also aiming to attract people from around the region.
1. Riverside Sunderland
Totalling £500m, Riverside Sunderland is the biggest investment taking place in the city. The masterplan will transform a 33.2 hectare site across both sides of the River Wear in the coming years with a mix of homes, leisure and offices. Buildings already taking shape as part of the transformational scheme include the new 190,000 sq ft City Hall headquarters. Future developments include a state-of-the-art library and community hub – the Culture House - that will attract 600,000 visitors a year to a new site in Keel Square and a ‘smart bridge’ that will connect both sides of the river featuring light installations and VR to deliver engaging experiences for pedestrians and cyclists that cross it, as well as the upgrading of St Mary’s Boulevard into a stylish new main street.
Photo: JPI Media
2. The Athenaeum building, corner of Fawcett Street and Athenaeum Street,
An empty city centre building is being transformed into a gallery and studio space, which is set to welcome artists from around the globe. The Athenaeum building, which stands at the corner of Fawcett Street and Athenaeum Street, was first opened in 1841 by the Literary and Philosophical Society. Later rebuilt in 1900 with ground floor shops and first floor offices, the building has since been home to several businesses, including a nightclub and an Italian restaurant. Now, arts organisation Breeze Creatives is redeveloping part of The Athenaeum building on Fawcett Street, with plans to open its new gallery and studio space this summer.
Photo: jpi media
3. The Auditorium, off High Street West
The city’s new £11m Auditorium, which is being built onto the side of The Fire Station, has transformed a former car park in Garden Place and is set to welcome its first audiences in the coming weeks. Designed with a capacity of 450 people seated or 800 standing, The Auditorium lies between the size of the neighbouring 2,000-seater Empire and smaller music venues such as Independent. Set to open soon, it will also have an outdoor space for socially-distanced performances.
Photo: jpi media
4. Pop Recs and more, 170-173 High Street West
Pop Recs culture hub is preparing to open its doors in its new home after breathing life into an historic city centre building. Four years after work began on saving the dilapidated 170-173 High Street West buildings, it’s preparing to host its first gig in its new home. What was once the home of the very first Binns store in the 1840s, which spawned a household name chain, is taking shape as the new Pop Recs after painstaking restoration works by owners, Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust. The Pop Recs building is at the centre of three buildings, which are all undergoing major restoration as part of the city’s Heritage Action Zone, which has also seen the transformation of Mackie’s Corner. The building to the left of Pop Recs will be home to the Sunshine Co-operative who will move from its base at the Eagle Buildings to sell a whole host of locally-sourced foods. The building to the right, meanwhile, will be a cafe with its own training kitchen to help young people from a host of backgrounds to gain experience in the hospitality industry.
Photo: jpi media