Launched in November 2019 with £100m of investment from Legal and General, Riverside Sunderland is Sunderland City Council's masterplan to transform a 33.2 hectare site across both sides of the River Wear near the city centre.
A 176-page document released in October 2020 described the work as "the most exciting regeneration site in Britain". Plans include 1,000 new homes, up to 10,000 jobs and new bridges across the river.
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One of the bridges will take fans on foot between the city centre and Sunderland football club's Stadium of Light ground. Council leader Graeme Miller said: “A direct footbridge into the vicinity of the Stadium of Light will be a fantastic addition to the city."
The masterplan includes 1,000 sustainable homes to rent and buy for 2,500 people in four new riverside neighbourhoods. Cllr Miiler said: "The masterplan will create a spectacular city centre destination – a place to live, work and play."
The £100m-plus project includes ongoing work on the former Vaux site, on the city centre site of the river, where The Beam building is already home to online grocery giant Ocado and 300 workers.
The council's new 19,000 sq ft City Hall headquarters, which will also be home to Gentoo and the Department for Work and Pensions, is under construction close to The Beam and is expected to be complete by autumn 2021.
Two six-storey and five-storey offices are also planned between City Hall and the river. Cllr Miller said: “When complete, these two buildings will help bring hundreds of highly-skilled jobs to the city and provide a major shot in the arm to the economy in the heart of the city."
Should planning permission be granted, work on the first of the buildings would begin early in 2021 and be completed by 2022.
Cllr Miller says: “This will be a ‘magnet city’. Aspirational families will move here. Corporates will see this as a place they want to do business – and their people will spend money in the city centre stimulating new jobs and business growth."
Culture and learning are not forgotten either. Due for completion by 2023, "the UK's best" library will be a four-storey building in Keel Square and is expected to attract more than 600,000 visitors a year. Culture House will include libraries for adults, children and young people as well as a community hub.
There are also plans for a major life sciences/healthcare facility in the city centre, a landscape park at Galley's Gill, a new multi-storey car park in Farringdon Row as well as "the upgrading of St Mary’s Boulevard into a stylish new main street".
The council says: "In 2023, Riverside Sunderland will host the month-long Future Living Expo, a high-profile event which will showcase life in the new urban quarter. UK and international visitors will be drawn to the first of the new neighbourhoods on the former Vaux Brewery site."
The council is also spearheading separate improvement programmes across the city. Here is its vision of how Seaburn's Bay Shelter could look after a leaseholder is chosen to take over the empty building at the end of an ongoing tendering process.