Hundreds of jobs are set to be created as part of a new £18million retail and leisure development on Wearside.
Plans have been submitted to transform the Rainton Meadows Arena site in Houghton, which would see the creation of a supermarket and shops with Aldi, Home Bargains, Pets at Home and Costa Coffee already committed to opening units there.
The arena building itself, built in 1992 as an indoor cricket venue, would be rebuilt several hundreds yards away to the north on the same site to make room for the shops and could accommodate up to 1,400 people.
It would also have 259 parking spaces.
Bosses say that 375 jobs will be created should the plans get the go-ahead from Sunderland City Council next week.
The proposals have been in the making for years according to Michael Roseberry, of Roseberry Leisure, which owns the arena, and has teamed up with Carta Real Estate to come up with the plans.
“The funding for this project is all there if we are lucky enough to get planning permission and hopefully we could on site by the end of this year,” said Mr Roseberry.
“We want to make things happen as soon as possible.
“My father and I are ambassadors for Sunderland we have picked up a lot of local support for what we are trying to do.
“People are saying “how fantastic” and “will it happen?” and it will happen should we get permission.
“There is a serious need for venues like the new area because we don’t have many of those in Sunderland or the North East.”
James Ridings, director is Carta Real Estate, added that the new site could generate 250,000 visitors to the area each year, with potential for an additional 25,000 hotel room nights to premises close by.
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, has given his backing to the plans, saying: “This area is in the absolute heart of the North East, with the A1 and the A19 running close by to the A690 here.
“The arena development can serve the whole region, it wouldn’t just be a Sunderland venue.
“The work done on the Rainton Meadows Business Park site over the past 12 years has been very good, with thousands of jobs created, but we need to be servicing those people so they don’t have to travel far for shops and the like, which the retail plan would do.”
The plans for the new development can be viewed on the city council’s planning website.
They are set to be heard at a meeting of the council’s Development and Control Sub-Commitee on Tuesday, August 8.