Gordon Hewling, Principal and Managing Director, Avison Young, Newcastle reviews construction activity within the Newcastle city centre and inner urban core.
Despite the onset of Covid-19 restrictions, commercial development activity within the Newcastle city centre has been on-going alongside detailed preparatory planning and pre-development work on major projects within the development pipeline.
Legal and General’s, 106,000sq. ft, The Lumen at Newcastle Helix was completed in spring 2020 and, whilst built speculatively, circa 50% of the office space has already been taken up, with a strong level of interest in the remaining floors. The adjoining 107,000sq. ft Spark building is also progressing on site through Sir Robert McAlpine with completion due in early 2022. Planning consultations are also ongoing for the construction of a £18m Vastint developed Moxy hotel within the scheme.
The Gallowgate/St James Boulevard area is busy where Tolent Construction is completing the impressive 161 apartment, Hadrian Tower for the High Street Group, HSG are also to progress with the same contractor at One St James, a £120m office, leisure and housing scheme, adjacent to the football ground. Ask Real Estate and BAM Construction are also to build a six storey,70,000sq.ft. headquarters building for Home Housing at Strawberry Lane.
Taras Properties are both developing and funding the East Pilgrim Regeneration Scheme where Bowmer and Kirkland recently commenced construction on the Ryder Architecture designed, 120,000sq.ft. Bank House office building, due for completion in early 2023. In parallel, development proposals and a planning application for the conversion of the Grade 2 listed former fire station into a boutique hotel are currently being finalised.
On Gateshead waterfront, Ask Patrizia has secured planning permission for the development of a £260m arena led conference centre and hotel scheme to be built by Sir Robert McAlpine. Gateshead Council recently granted planning permission for the construction of a £18m multi-storey car park at Hawks Road.
Gordon Hewling comments: “ It is most impressive how developers and their main contractors, despite the pandemic, have both physically progressed major new build projects and brought forward new schemes which are either at a planning stage, have recently commenced on site or where buildings have been completed and occupied.”
He adds;” The sector has overcome shortage of skilled and unskilled labour, rising material costs and social distanced working practices, leading to programme delays, yet has performed admirably to meet tight deadlines and take on new opportunities as and when they arose.”