Work on Sunderland's new City Hall 'tops out' as construction team starts assembling roof

Construction workers have reached the top as Sunderland’s new City Hall takes shape on the skyline.

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 11:16 am
The new Sunderland Town Hall, part of The Riverside Development, has topped out as it reached the highest point. Councillor Graeme Miller and Paul Anderson (Senior Project Manager at Bowmer & Kirland)

Bowmer + Kirkland, the company that is leading the build of the new City Hall, which stands at the heart of the transforming Riverside Sunderland site, has reached a high-point in the project as it assembles the roof of the 33m-high structure.

Work on the building - which will house a range of public sector and support organisations when it opens its doors next year - got underway last November, and is on track to complete by next autumn.

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The new Sunderland Town Hall . part of The Riverside Development has topped out as it reached the highest point. Councillor Graeme Miller outisde the construction site.

It is the latest development to transform Sunderland’s city centre skyline, standing on St Mary’s Boulevard in the Riverside Sunderland development area, that is also home to The Beam, where global grocery business Ocado is based.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said topping out marked an important milestone for the building, and the wider development of the Riverside Sunderland site.

“We’re thrilled to see the outline of what will be an important new building for Sunderland residents take shape.

“City Hall will act as a hub for a range of organisations that offer help and support to people living in Sunderland, bringing them together under one roof to make it easy for our residents to access the assistance they need to prosper. We’re looking forward to seeing it completed, and topping out marks an important moment in the construction programme, which we’re pleased is moving ahead on schedule despite UK lockdown earlier this year.”

The new Sunderland Town Hall, part of The Riverside Development has topped out as it reached the highest point. Councillor Graeme Miller and Paul Anderson (Senior Project Manager at Bowmer & Kirland)

City Hall will consist of two main footprints connected by a large glass atrium and will deliver a modern environment for the near-2,000 workers who will be based there, as well as state of the art services for residents to tap into.

Locally based construction business Bowmer + Kirkland was appointed to work on the building, which council chiefs say ensures money is reinvested in the city.

Paul Anderson, who is a senior project manager at Bowmer + Kirkland and is managing the City Hall development on behalf of the firm, said: “We are delighted to reach this key milestone in the development which is all the more satisfying given that the structure has been erected in the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. We can now look forward to making the building watertight with the architectural façade and commencement of the fit out works.”

The 190,000 sq ft building has been funded by investment giant Legal & General, as part of a landmark £100m commitment to Riverside Sunderland, which will also pave the way for two more commercial buildings to be constructed on the site.

An artist's impression of how the new City Hall will look

The investment is a key part of the masterplan for the area, which will also see a new residential community rise from the ground, with work starting last week on ground inspections for the development.

Gordon Aitchison, director of investment and development at LGIM Real Assets, said: “We are delighted to have achieved topping-out on Sunderland City Hall. The construction team has done an incredible job in pushing forward with the scheme, achieving topping-out on time and schedule even in the face of significant disruption caused by COVID.

“Riverside Sunderland is a landmark scheme which, upon completion, will play a key role in providing jobs, opportunities and economic growth for the local area, as well as of course serving as a key hub for civic workers.”