The building where Sunderland AFC was formed is bought by council as part of Sunniside regeneration
An historic building which played a central role in the formation of Sunderland AFC but had fallen on difficult times as a hostel is set to be revamped after being bought by city chiefs.
Sunderland City Council has taken possession of The Norfolk Hotel, in Norfolk Street, in a bid to “reimagine it as a place that plays a positive role in Sunniside’s development.”
The announcement is the latest in a series of acquisitions across the city centre, with the council saying it wants to ensure Sunderland’s “most striking buildings” are protected and preserved.
It is also part of a £500 million city centre vision, with the wider city investment total to stand at more than £1.5 billion leading up to 2030.
Earlier this year, the council acquired the Elephant Tea Rooms, and it is supporting other projects including the redevelopment of Mackie’s Corner, the River Wear Commissioners building into a business hub and two historic venues in the Cultural Quarter.
The Norfolk Hotel - then home to the British Day School - played host to a meeting of local school teachers in October 1879, which would lead to the formation of Sunderland AFC - originally known as Sunderland and District Teachers’ Association.
The red brick building was built in two parts, the first in the late 1800s and the entrance in 1900 and was converted into a hotel, then a hostel, which has fallen into a poor state of repair and become a magnet for antisocial behaviour.
Council leader Graeme Miller said: “The redevelopment of the Norfolk Hotel will allow us to breathe a new lease of life into this corner of the city, and we’re working with private investors to explore plans that will support new jobs and bring more footfall to local bars, restaurants and stores in the surrounding streets.
“It’s great news and we can’t wait to bring this spectacular old building back to life.”
The council has said it is also planning improvements to other areas of the city centre, as well as increased leisure facilities.
It announced in June that it had taken full control of regeneration company Siglion, a partnership with Carillion Plc, which collapsed in January 2018.