See inside Sunderland's transformed Gilbridge Police Station as it takes shape as 'The Yard' under £3.5million development
Work is fast progressing on the transformation of the former Gilbridge Police Station.
(Our video shows the empty police station in 2021 ahead of works)
With its prime location, the 3,000 sq m building was earmarked for development for some time, before Hanro was confirmed as being the preferred developer for the building in 2020, after a competitive bidding process.
In March 2022, they started work on transforming the building into multi-purpose office space, named The Yard after Scotland Yard, with Sunderland-based Brims Construction appointed for the building work.
Work is now nearing completion on the top floor of the building, which was formerly the officers’s club, ready for potential tenants when the building is handed over in late November.
The lower three floors are also fast taking shape. The ground floor, which will also feature a business lounge, meeting rooms and a leisure space, is now fully let.
Meanwhile, remaining offices are available on the other floors, which can accommodate offices ranging from 500 sq ft to 23,000 sq ft, depending on the tenant.
Due to the building being well built with a solid concrete frame, builders have been able to maintain original features such as the Brutalist facade and a terrazzo main staircase.
However, the cell wing of the building has been demolished to make way for a car park for the offices.
Laura Lloyd, Head of Portfolio at The Hanro Group, said there’s been interest from a range of potential clients keen to take up units in the heart of the city’s ongoing regeneration.
"We’ve had a real mix of enquiries, anything from accountants and recruitment to call centre operators,” she said. “It’s such a great location, right in the centre of the new CBD (central business district) and it’s slightly more affordable for smaller, newer businesses who aren’t looking for huge HQ premises
"It’s a really flexible space which can be split into offices, anything up from 500 sq ft. It’s been really interesting to see it transform from March to now. Before, it was very cellular, no pun intended, but what we’ve done is to really open up the space.
"A lot of people knock down and rebuild buildings, but there was nothing structurally wrong with this building, it was really solid, so we’ve done all we can to work with its existing features.”
A team of 45 have been working on the building works and project manager John Wardropper, who lives in Sunderland himself, said it’s great to be a part of a project that’s helping transform the city centre.
"Sunderland is seeing so much investment and regeneration at the minute and it’s great to be part of the changing skyline,” said John from Brims, the firm that also worked on the construction of the nearby Fire Station Auditorium.
The £3.5m transformation project has been helped by The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) who has invested almost £850,000 from government’s Getting Building Fund to support the works.
The Yard is part of the Riverside Sunderland development led by Sunderland City Council. The city centre office building will complement additional commercial spaces that are being developed in the area, including Legal and General-backed Maker and Faber.