Work restarts on Vaux site after Siglion sign deal with Tolent

Construction work has restarted on Sunderland's Vaux site after construction firm Tolent was awarded a contract to complete its first building.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 9:24 am
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 3:02 pm
City council leader Coun Graeme Miller with Tolent's David Thompson (left) and , and David Roberts

Sunderland City Council’s development partners Siglion – which is responsible for the development of the whole Vaux site as well as a number of other key regeneration projects in the city - has appointed North East firm Tolent Construction to complete phase one of the development.

City council leader Coun Graeme Miller with Tolent's David Thompson (left) and , and David Roberts

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Tolent has delivered a number of high profile projects in the city in recent years, including the construction of the Beacon of Light, Hilton Garden Inn in the Stadium Village, the Echo 24 building and housing on Doxford Park estate.

It has now restarted work on the first building, The Beam, which can be seen from High Street West, as well as infrastructure, a new public square and continuation of the Keel Line.

It is expected that The Beam will open early in 2019, delivering over 59,000 sq ft of office and leisure space, and extending the footprint of the city centre towards the riverside, connected by Keel Square.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “I am delighted work has restarted.

Work has resumed on the Vaux site

"It is genuinely great to see that we are going to have activity on this building.

"We need this building ready for March next year, which is not that long at all. We have got four floors of office space that will be fitted out to skeleton finish, so as soon as the tenants come in , they can say what they want to have in there."

David Roberts from Siglion's development partner Igloo, was pleased to see work restart: "It is a relief, but it is really a genuinely positive development," he said.

"The Carillion collapse has affected a lot of people around the country , so it it encouraging to see us back on site so quickly.

Construction is under way back on the Vaux site, shown here in an aerial view of the city centre.

"I would not be surprised if this is one of the first large Carillion contracts to be restarted."

Tolent regional director David Thompson said restarting work on Vaux had been a personal passion for the firm's chairman.

"We just thought, 'We need to move here, we need to help if we can.' That was motivated by our chairman John Wood - he is a Sunderland lad through and through.

"He just said 'We have got to step up and see how we can assist'," he said .

David is familiar with the history of the site.

"I was involved with the Echo 24 development and we used to look across here and it just did not move," he said.

"So when we saw Siglion were developing a master-plan, we thought 'That would be something fantastic to be involved in,'."

Many of those who originally worked on the Beam have been re-engaged to finish the building.

David Ames lost his job with electrical contractor Vaughan's when Carillion collapsed but is now back on site.

"We were all made redundant," he said.

"We all lost our jobs because of the knock-on effect of Carilliion. Fortunately, all the lads were given a job back here.

"They have got about 90 per cent of those who were here before. It is fantastic to have a chance to finish what we started."

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