We round up some of the current transformations, from a hub of independent shops now calling Mackie’s Corner home to the city’s only castle getting set to open its doors.
5. 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
6. Pop Recs and more, 170-175 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
7. Simpson Street School, Deptford
Last year plans were revealed to bring the former Simpson Street School site back into use after it was severely damaged by fire. The modernisation is being led by North East architectural and structural engineering business Building Design (Northern) Ltd and is one of several regeneration projects under way on Wearside. BDN Ltd – which was in advanced talks with Sunderland City Council before the blaze – aims to convert the Grade II-listed treasure into its own headquarters, as well as developing eight loft-style apartments.
Photo: jpi media
8. 177 High Street West & 1-2 Villiers Street
Two more historic buildings in Sunderland city centre are to be saved from disrepair and restored as part of regeneration efforts. A number of historic properties have already seen work to bring them back to life as part of the Sunderland Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and the city's ongoing regeneration. Now two more are to undergo restoration after the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT) and Sunderland City Council secured £103,000 funding for 177 High Street West and 1-2 Villiers Street. The team says this funding will help develop and deliver a scheme to bring the properties back to life and attract more investment to this area of the city centre.