THE regeneration of Sunderland City Centre is gathering momentum as cabinet members agreed to sell off key land for development – and acquire the “strategically important” Gillbridge Police Station.
No details were given about the plans for the Gillbridge site but all the other sites which were subject to reports at yesterday’s cabinet meeting have been earmarked for major development.
Negotiations are underway to agree on a price for the half hectare of land at the former Crowtree Leisure Centre site to be leased to Pavilion to extend The Bridges shopping centre.
“Pavilion has proposed for development a large retail store and have made an offer, the nature of which would be a welcome addition to the city centre,” cabinet secretary Mel Speding said.
“We have agreed a conditional contract of disposal to ensure the scheme can proceed to the planning stage.”
Cabinet members also agreed to dispose of land east of Keel Square to the Cairn Hotel Group (CHG), to begin the planning process to build a four-star hotel.
Under the terms of the lease the council would retain control over the use of the ground floor.
Coun John Kelly said: “It’s fantastic news that the Keel Square development is going ahead. This is a significant hotel chain being part of the city moving forward.”
Council leader Paul Watson said: “It’s fantastic to see that people are now competing to invest in the city centre.”
It was also agreed to sell the council’s freehold interest in 50 Fawcett Street, 15 to 16 John Street and the leasehold of the upper floors of Cassaton House in Fawcett Street, to Minton Group, to turn the properties into student accommodation.
Coun Speding said after the meeting: “The Gillbridge Police Station site is close to the Sunderland Minster Quarter, the new Keel Square, St Mary’s Boulevard, and lies opposite Vaux.
“It is strategically important for the future regeneration of the city centre and having ownership opens up further options for central renewal and regeneration.
“This acquisition, along with the land and development news from cabinet today on expansion at The Bridges shopping centre, a hotel next to Keel Square, and city centre student accommodation, are all examples of how this council is progressing the regeneration of the city centre.”