Work on the Vaux site has moved a step closer to restarting as the hunt for a new contractor has begun.
Work ground to a halt in January with the collapse of construction giant Carillion, which was close to completing the first building on the site.
Now, new tenders have been issued for the project.
Sunderland City Council and development partner Siglion have completed legal formalities and Carillion’s construction contract is now officially terminated.
Subject to the tenders, an announcement about site work starting again will be made in coming weeks.
City council leader Coun Harry Trueman said there had been a lot of work behind the scenes on getting new tenders drafted as soon as possible: “Though the news of Carillion’s collapse was a set-back, this has only served to galvanise the city in its determination to deliver job creating development at Vaux,” he said.
This development is one about expanding the footprint of our city centre, and bringing jobs and economic prosperity to Sunderland.Coun Harry Trueman
“Vaux has always been a flagship site and many have described it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. This development is one about expanding the footprint of our city centre, and bringing jobs and economic prosperity to Sunderland.”
The city council acquired the site from supermarket chain Tesco in 2011 and spent two years preparing the site for development by removing contaminated materials and demolition.
In 2013 and 2015, a major re-shaping and re-modelling of the city centre was completed with the creation of the Keel Square and St Mary’s Boulevard, clearing the way for redevelopment of Vaux to begin, with a plan to create a new business district to attract more city centre jobs, offices and pedestrian traffic.
“Vaux is a site we have fought to deliver,” said Coun Trueman.
“We know it will bring about a step-change in our city centre and, teamed with other city developments, we are all pleased to be getting back on-track.”
Siglion chief executive John Seager said: “The process to appoint a contractor for the final construction phase on site is under way, and we hope to be in a position to announce more details on that soon.”
The priority had been to ensure that the project would be delivered in a way that provides continuity for sub-contractors and have minimal impact on the warranties and terms of the original contract.
“It’s been a complex and very involved process to move this forward, but we have been resolute in our aim to fulfil the original vision for this stunning building,” he said.
“The priority from the moment work was stalled was to ensure that we were able to get back on site as quickly as possible, and deliver this important building to the city.”