Sunderland's Gilbridge Avenue police station to become £3 million business centre
Sunderland’s former city centre police station building will be transformed into a £3million new business centre after it was sold to a North East developer.
The Hanro Group has agreed outline terms with Sunderland City Council to buy the former Gilbridge Police Station, after winning a competitive bid-process.
The 3,000 sq m building has been earmarked for development since Northumbria Police closed it in 2015 and is now set to be converted into office space.
An 18-month exclusivity deal signed by the council and Newcastle developer Hoults expired last year.
As part of its proposal, Hanro submitted detailed plans for the building that will see it converted into modern flexible office spaces, in suites ranging from 45 to 200 sq m.
It will undergo a complete refurbishment internally and externally to transform the ‘brutalist’ concrete-clad building into a modern flexible working environment with attractive common areas. The range of suites will seek to attract SME occupiers.
Hanro managing director Adam Serfontein said: “The building is rather iconic and its prime position, opposite the Riverside Sunderland development, means that there is a great opportunity to complement the offer of this emerging location by adding flexible suites in an attractive “hub” environment. Our ambition is to provide a facility to attract growth business and foster the SME sector”.
The refurbishment programme is expected to get underway in a matter of months, subject to planning consent, and Hanro expects the project to be available within a year.
Council leader Coun Graeme Miller said: “Hanro has a proven track record as an investor, having quietly gone about its business in the city and delivered excellent developments for many years.
“We are looking forward to seeing the company quickly breathe new life into this building. Hanro is absolutely ready to go with its plans; the team want to get this development moving, which is critical to us – we need regeneration to happen with pace and endeavour in Sunderland and the sale of this building will enable that.
“The rate of transformation on the Vaux site is phenomenal. It will soon be matched by change in and around Keel Square.”