Sneak peek at Maker & Faber as next-generation buildings gear up to open in Sunderland this year

The next generation buildings are helping to shape the city’s new skyline.
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With a prime spot on the city’s game-changing Riverside development, Maker & Faber play a key role in the changing face of Sunderland.

Maker & Faber are rising into the skylineMaker & Faber are rising into the skyline
Maker & Faber are rising into the skyline

Empty for years after the closure of the old Vaux Brewery, the site on the banks of the Wear has now become the heart of Riverside Sunderland, hailed as one of the most-ambitious regeneration projects in the country with billions of pounds worth of inward investment.

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In recent years the once derelict site has welcomed The Beam and City Hall and this summer will see the completion of its two newest developments: Maker & Faber.

On the corner plot in the shadow of Wearmouth Bridge, overlooking the River Wear as it meanders out to the North Sea, the two next generation office blocks are all-electric and low energy and are aimed at housing a community of workers, who can take advantage of wellbeing spaces, as part of the overall aim to have more people working and living in the city centre.

Construction works are nearing completionConstruction works are nearing completion
Construction works are nearing completion

The ground floor also has space for retail / hospitality, offering one of the best views in the city.

The sister blocks have been rising into the skyline since ground was broken in early 2023 and they’re now nearing completion offering 150,000 sq ft of new city centre office accommodation in a development backed by Legal & General.

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Maker is on track to be completed by late July, rising six-storeys high and delivering 80,000 sq ft of office space, with Faber, which is five-storeys high, delivering 70,000 sq ft, following in late August with a big launch party for the city at the end of September.

The buildings are designed to provide plenty of natural lightThe buildings are designed to provide plenty of natural light
The buildings are designed to provide plenty of natural light

The buildings, which are being constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine, are now moving into an internal fit out phase, as they prepare to welcome tenants later this year.

Property development manager, Landid, has delivered the buildings on behalf of investor Legal & General, part of Legal & General’s £100m commitment to the Riverside Sunderland site, and a combined £160m that the institutional investor is ploughing into the city over the next few years.

Talks first began on the project five years ago and Landid managing director James Silver says they’re excited to see the vision become a reality, with RSA Insurance already signed up for two floors in Faber, bringing 400 jobs to the city, and talks ongoing with other potential tenants.

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The buildings stand adjacent to City HallThe buildings stand adjacent to City Hall
The buildings stand adjacent to City Hall

Landid has a long history with Sunderland City Council, delivering Doxford International Business Park 30 years ago.

“Maker & Faber has been a hugely exciting project to be a part of,” said James. “Not too long ago, we were walking around the site and there was nothing here, now the skyline is welcoming huge changes for the city.

“Our ambitions for these buildings is to raise the bar, not just in Sunderland, but across the North East.”

He added: “The wider vision for Riverside Sunderland is spectacular and these buildings will slot in beautifully. The buildings will match the quality of the UK’s major cities, creating places where people will enjoy working and where businesses will be part of a vibrant mixed-use community.”

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The buildings offer mixed use spaceThe buildings offer mixed use space
The buildings offer mixed use space

Standing on a site which was once home to one of Sunderland’s most-successful hospitality businesses and overlooking the river that was once lined with shipyards, it’s fitting that the buildings are a nod to the city’s proud history of being a city of makers.

Faber is Latin for ‘smith’ i.e., an artisan, craftsman, creator or Maker.

A strong emphasis has been placed on making the net zero carbon buildings as eco-friendly as possible, down to the material choices and toxins in the paint.

The buildings have been hailed as ‘next generation’ office blocksThe buildings have been hailed as ‘next generation’ office blocks
The buildings have been hailed as ‘next generation’ office blocks

And the wellbeing of the future tenants has played an equally big part, with plans for yoga groups and running clubs for Maker & Faber workers.

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The buildings have been designed to be flexible, meaning they could potentially house a SME of around 25 workers up to larger firms wanting to occupy entire floors, with parking available at the new Riverside car park as well as at the neighbouring St Mary’s.

The buildings are being actively marketed by commercial property agents Knight Frank and JLL, and they say there’s been strong interest from a range of occupiers.

Come summer 2025, Maker & Faber will be connected to the Riverside development on the south side of the Wear via the new pedestrian bridge which is well underway.

Both sides will also house a new community of 1,000 homes, amongst other developments, such as Sheepfolds Stables and the new Eye Hospital.

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To enquire about space within the buildings, contact Tom Brammeld from JLL at [email protected] or on  07928 525 992 or contact Patrick Matheson at Knight Frank at [email protected] or on 0191 594 5001.

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