Work to transform the Vaux site is set to start this summer as plans go in for the first phase of the development.
Sat empty and unused for more than a decade, the major city centre development site had become a major bugbear in the city as a row rumbled after supermarket giant Tesco bought the site - but were denied planning permission to build on it.
The site was eventually brought back into public ownership when a deal was struck with Tesco over its now-running supermarket in Roker.
Now the former Vaux site is the first of five areas of the city to be regenerated in a £100million-plus scheme managed by Siglion, the development partnership. The high profile site will include office, retail, residential and leisure aspects.
Central to the plans for phase one is a 60,000sq ft office building at the centre of the 5.5 hectare site, along with infrastructure work to continue the Keel Line and landscaping work to enhance the area.
Siglion chief executive John Seager said: "This is the first major speculative office development in Sunderland for many years.
"Even larger cities in the UK are rarely willing to speculate on office buildings, so this is a great step forwards we’re making for Sunderland.
"It will be a substantial building overlooking the river at the end of the Keel Line, and a step change in the quality of development in the city centre."
In addition to the detailed plans for phase one, Siglion has also applied for outline planning approval for the site master plan. This includes a range of developments, with residential, car parking, retail, hotel, leisure and further commercial elements.
The office scheme has been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible, with natural ventilation and energy efficiency built into the plans to keep running costs low for tenants. Siglion is aiming to achieve a BREEAM green building excellent rating for the construction.
The planning application for phase one follows a thorough consultation process which took place this year with local residents and businesses in the city centre. The outline plans will be fleshed out into further phases for development next year as work progresses.
John Seager said: “We’ve been through a full and open consultation process, and I’m really pleased about the positivity we’ve found.
“The plans have been very well-received by local residents and businesses in the city and we’ve taken on board their comments.
“The design team has worked very hard to get to this position this year. The team only got together formally in January, so things have moved pretty quickly.”
Consultations are also under way for the other four sites to be redeveloped by Siglion. A 10-acre site at Seaburn, a major housing project at Chapel Garth, and sites at Farringdon Row and Numbers Garth are also part of the ambitious scheme.
Siglion is a joint venture company set up by Sunderland City Council and Carillion, managed by igloo Regeneration.
Neil McMillan, chair of Siglion and development director of Carillion said: “We’ve reached an exciting stage in this major redevelopment project at the former Vaux site, which will regenerate key areas of Sunderland not just for the immediate future but for the benefit of generations to come.”
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m excited to see the detailed plans for the former Vaux site and look forward to watching the transformation of this important and highly-visible part of our city centre, providing jobs, homes and leisure facilities for people in Sunderland.”