A bold vision to transform the former Vaux site has moved another step closer to reality after eye-catching plans were given the green light.
Sunderland City Council approved the application for phase one of the development by Siglion, and work could start within months.
The scheme is the first of five around the city to be redeveloped as part of a £100million-plus programme by the partnership.
The council also granted outline planning permission for Siglion’s masterplan for the 5.5-hectare Vaux site, which will feature streets, shops, cafes and restaurants with public spaces with views of the River Wear and Sunderland’s bridges.
Developers say a striking 60,000sq ft office building, which will look out along the River Wear and sea, will be key to bringing in business.
Chief executive John Seager said: “We are excited to be finally beginning our work to breathe new life into the Vaux site, which has been empty for almost 17 years since the brewery closed.
We are excited to be finally beginning our work to breathe new life into the Vaux site, which has been empty for almost 17 years since the brewery closed.John Seager, chief executive of Siglion
“This is such a focal point for Sunderland and its position at the entrance to the city centre is hugely important to how people coming into Sunderland perceive the city.
“The first phase will create a superb office development, providing the city with some of the best quality working space to be found anywhere in the North East.
“This truly is a flagship development for the city, which will bring employment and money into Sunderland’s economy, both during the construction phase and in the longer term.”
Siglion, which brings together Carillion and the council and is managed by Igloo Regeneration, is also working on plans for Chapelgarth, Seaburn’s seafront, Numbers Garth and Farringdon Row.
Irene Lucas CBE, council chief executive, said: “The go-ahead for work to start at Vaux really is an important moment for the future development of the city.
“This flagship location is one of the first things people see when they come into the city centre and we’re excited that work can now begin on providing this important location with the kind of development that reflects the modern, forward-looking city that Sunderland is.”
The wider plan includes ideas to develop a destination restaurant set partially in the cliff-face and about 200 homes with riverside views.
The site will be connected with a pedestrian access to St Mary’s Way and the development of a new pathway along the cliff-edge.
City chiefs spoke of their delight at being able to make a decision which will transform a key part of Sunderland.
Members of Sunderland City Council’s development control (South Sunderland) sub-committee unanimously agreed to back Siglion’s application when it met today.
During the discussions, chairman of the committee Councillor Stuart Porthouse said the regeneration of the old brewery site was a key component of driving forward the economy of Wearside.
He added: “I remember looking at the plans they had for the Tesco and the future looked rather bleak.
“The redevelopment of the city centre really is a big step and I really look forward to this coming up, and I just hope I live long enough to see it.”
Councillor Michael Mordey highlighted how the plans were one of several in the pipeline, with Seaburn seafront, the former Crowtree Leisure Centre land among them.
He said they would follow on from Keel Square, which has been completed as part of the wider plans for the Vaux site and its road network, and the new £29million Sunderland College city centre campus, which is due to start welcoming students and staff soon.
He added: “We are extremely ambitious in what we want for Sunderland and I very much look forward to this building being built and seeing the people of Sunderland enjoying it.
“This is an important asset for the city, the brewery site, and we will see more in the years to come.”