New hotel and steak house earmarked for Durham City

How the inside of Bar + Block will look once it launches in Durham's Millburngate development.
How the inside of Bar + Block will look once it launches in Durham's Millburngate development.

A key development on the banks of the River Wear will generate 75 new jobs when it becomes home to a hotel and steak house.

The £150 million regeneration of the Millburngate site in Durham will welcome a Premier Inn and a “new concept steak restaurant” called Bar + Block.

Millburngate House, the old site of the passport office on the banks of the River Wear in Durham, which has beem demolished to make way for new businesses.

Millburngate House, the old site of the passport office on the banks of the River Wear in Durham, which has beem demolished to make way for new businesses.

It comes after the site’s developers signed two agreements with the hospitality firm Whitbread.

The hotel, which is subject to planning approval, would have 92 bedrooms, with the restaurant to be the first of the chain’s in the North of England, with others already open in King’s Cross in London, Birmingham, Bath and Whitley in Hampshire.

It offers “informal all-day dining” serving breakfast, lunch and dinner “with an emphasis on high quality steaks at affordable prices, all hand-cut to order.”

Combined, they could bring 75 new jobs to the city, with the development underway where the HM Passport and National Savings and Investment (NS&I) once stood.

We’re proud to be working with Whitbread and look forward to welcoming the hotel and steak house to the development.

Ben Holmes

Premier Inn already operates a hotel at Freemans Place on the opposite side of the water, which is connected to the Walkergate complex.

The newly announced signings are the latest additions announced for the premium Milburngate development.

They will take their place alongside independent boutique cinema operator, Everyman and Marston’s bespoke designed bar, Pitcher & Piano.

Milburngate will also feature a mix of luxury apartments and offices.

It will create more than 1,000 jobs in total, with the project led by Arlington Real Estate and the Richardson family.

The firms bought out Carillion’s part in the scheme in December as the now-defunct construction firm battled its debt, allowing the development to stay on track.

Allan Cook, managing director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “These agreements not only demonstrate the confidence Whitbread has in Durham City, but also how Milburngate can help position and strengthen two of its important brands.

“Milburngate’s aspirational and premium offering is attracting high quality operators that will enhance and expand the leisure market in Durham and help attract visitors from across the North East and further afield to the city.

“Our projects in Durham are truly exceptional and were among the jewels in Carillion’s crown, we were therefore happy to acquire their joint venture share in Milburngate late last year.”

Ben Holmes, director at Richardsons, said: “Milburngate is a great opportunity for Whitbread to further develop its presence in Durham City to meet the demand for hotel beds in the area while introducing a new concept dining experience to the region.

“We’re proud to be working with Whitbread and look forward to welcoming the hotel and steak house to the development.”

Matt Aubrey, Premier Inn acquisitions manager for the North East, said: “We are pleased to have acquired a site for a new 92-bed Premier Inn and Bar + Block restaurant at the Milburngate development in Durham.

“Milburngate is a major part of the future of Durham city centre and we are excited to be a part of it.

“Subject to planning permission, the new hotel and restaurant will bring 75 permanent jobs to the area and will offer visitors greater choice and value in Durham.”

Work is also continuing on The Riverwalk development on the other side of the Millburngate Bridge, which is where The Gates shopping centre previously stood.

The complex, which is under construction by Sir Robert McAlpine, with support from leisure agent Cushman and Wakefield and retail agent Fawley Watson Booth, has already welcomed newcomers Thai River and Old Toms Gin Bar and has signed up the Odeon Cinema, Turtle Bay and Cosy Club as tenants.

The Passport office has reopened in new offices in Freemans Place.