Sunderland’s ‘ambitious’ £2 billion regeneration programme set to transform city

The city of Sunderland is undergoing the most ‘transformational’ city-wide regeneration programme in decades following private sector investments totalling over £2bn.

Developments include Riverside Sunderland, International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), the £20m redevelopment of Houghton Colliery, and the Smart City project and next generation 5G mobile infrastructure rollout. Riverside Sunderland is set to create 1,000 homes, and 1 million square feet of offices and workspace for 8,000to 10,000 jobs.

The multi-phase, mixed-use development is transforming Sunderland city centre, led by significant commercial, leisure, public sector and residential developments. The city’s historic industrial heart will be ‘reinvented as an extraordinary place to live, a dynamic business location, and a vibrant focus for community life and culture’.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Last month marked five years since I joined Sunderland City Council and it’s remarkable to reflect on just how much the face of the city has changed. Over the past few years, we’ve attracted over £2bn in investment for projects across the city which will transform Sunderland’s skyline forever.

“Take Riverside Sunderland, the project is breathing new life into the former Vaux site, Sheepfolds, Farringdon Row and Galley’s Gill. Backed by Legal & General and Canada Life, the development will see 1,000 homes and 1 million square feet of offices built in the heart of the city, as well as a new public realm and a host of vibrant leisure venues.”

Riverside Sunderland includes Maker and Faber, two Legal & General-backed buildings which together will create 150,000 sq ft of office space, and the Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA).

The ‘groundbreaking’ academy, which is backed by Sunderland College and TV architect George Clarke, will educate, train and upskill local people to create innovative factory-built homes.

Culture House is set to be a ‘vibrant, dynamic and engaging space for all’, and will recognise the city’s rich history and heritage, while inspiring a passion for learning and knowledge. The Sheepfolds development includes a vibrant new venue, offering bespoke food, drinks and entertainment.

Other developments include new Enterprise Zones at Port of Sunderland, the seafront improvement programme and National Esports Performance Campus. The campus’ arena space, situated in front of the Stadium of Light, will feature the latest in digital and computing technology, including a 100-seater esports arena, training rooms and broadcast facilities.

The £31m “Smart Bridge” will improve links to the Stadium of Light and Sunderland University’s St Peter’s Campus. Smartphone users will be able to see virtual displays that council bosses say will create “an experience that will really bring to life the city’s digital ambitions”.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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