The shape of things to come on Sunderland's former Vaux brewery site is starting to become visible.
The first building on the site is taking shape, with steelwork now in place.
The ground and first floor frames for the 60,000sq ft office building that will occupy the first plot is now in position.
Construction of the building is being carried out by Carillion, which is part of the Siglion joint venture with Sunderland City Council and Igloo Regeneration, which is carrying out a 20-year programme to transform five key sites across the city.
Standing five storeys high when complete, the flagship development will provide high-quality office space in the heart of the city, and will also include ground floor space suitable for a bar, café and restaurant that will overlook the River Wear and Wearmouth Bridge.
Siglion chieg executive John Seager said: "The Vaux site is such a focal point for Sunderland and its position as one of the main entrance points of the city centre is hugely important for those visiting.
"It’s fantastic to see the building begin to take shape and see this important location transformed into a development that reflects the modern and dynamic city that Sunderland is. The Vaux development, when it is completed, will be a space that will create new jobs, workplaces and original communities. It’s a huge step forward and we hope that the second phase will follow soon after the first building."
Eddie Tribe, Carillion’s project director said: "It’s great to start work on this iconic site.
"Our work will create jobs and opportunities for local businesses. We have agreed a target to achieve 60 per cent of spend with local suppliers and aim to employ 16 apprentices throughout the construction programme, with further opportunities within our supply chain for employment for local people."
Architects Field Clegg Bradley Studios have designed the building, a practice that is renowned for delivering buildings with excellent environmental credentials.
"We want this, and all of the future buildings on the site, to be an exemplar illustration of buildings that are healthy and happy places to occupy. Sunderland is a fantastic place to live and work and these buildings take that even further," said John Seager.
The building will be completed in June 2018, and is available to let in suites from 1,000 sq ft up to the entire building of 60,000 sq ft.
Sunderland City Council chief executive Irene Lucas CBE said: "Sunderland has taken huge leaps forward in attracting innovative, high-growth businesses to the city, as well as supporting start-ups to succeed – particularly in the knowledge economy, an area in which Sunderland has achieved the second fastest rate of growth outside London.
"Office spaces like the new facility in Vaux, will provide high quality accommodation to scores of businesses that want to be part of what will be an innovative and creative community at the heart of the city centre. It’s hugely exciting to see the site taking shape and we look forward to June of next year, when this stunning new centre will be set to open its doors."
As well, the work on the first Vaux building, the green light has also been given to The Launch, a symbolic new structure that will celebrate Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage. Standing 25 meters tall when complete, the giant metal structure will look over the Wear, to commemorate the city’s shipbuilding heritage. The Launch and the site’s first building are due to be completed in June 2018, in time for the Tall Ship Race’s visit to Sunderland.
Further details about lettings is available from with Siglion directly or letting agents Knight Frank (Patrick Matheson - 0191 221 2211) or Naylors (Simon Taylor 0191 232 7030). Or to find out more about Siglion, visit www.siglion.co.uk or follow @SiglionUK.