One of Sunderland’s most iconic buildings is set for a major revamp under new plans. The Hutchinson’s Buildings – better known as Mackie’s Corner – have watched over High Street West since Victorian times.
For generations, the shopping complex at the junction of Bridge Street and High Street West was a favourite meeting spot for Wearsiders.
City property developer Henry Kirtley and daughter Alex recently took over the site with brewery, shop and hotel uses among ideas for the future uses of the building. The space has also hosted pop-up art exhibitions paying tribute the building’s history.
Now, plans have been lodged with Sunderland City Council to give the grade-II listed building a lasting makeover.
This includes repairing windows, restoring original shop fronts, a full roof replacement and reinstating clock faces on the dome. The proposals fall against a backdrop of Sunderland’s ‘Historic High Streets’ Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) – set up in 2017 following a successful grant from Historic England.
Under the Sunderland HAZ Partnership Grant Scheme, grants are made available to property owners for repair and improvement works.
An £850,000 grant pot is available – incorporating match funding from the council – with the scheme set to generate extra funds through private sector investment. Mackie’s Corner is one of the landmark city blocks set to benefit alongside the Elephant Tea Rooms.
A design and access statement said the new owners aim to “restore the building to its former glory as a significant landmark at the heart of Sunderland.”
This includes “eliminating any negative impact whilst correcting the poor maintenance of the last few decades.”
The report adds: “The re-roofing of the entire property will guarantee the longevity of the structure (and) the repair and renewal of windows and shop fronts will revitalise the street front.
“The removal of later inappropriate internal layouts, partitions and materials, will give the building an opportunity to function in many different and varied ways.” Mackie’s Corner was built in 1845 on the site of a large house owned by Dr William Clanny..
The building’s first tenant was hatter Robert Mackie, whose shop attracted passers-by as his workers could be seen through the windows making hats. Public comments are open on the plans until Thursday, June 20 and can be made in writing or online.