The ambitious scheme, if agreed at planning, will unlock local training and apprenticeship opportunities and create approximately 2,000 jobs during and after the three-year construction phase.
The 3.84 hectare site, positioned between the BALTIC and Sage Gateshead, is being brought forward in partnership with Gateshead Council, in plans which are hoped will inject a much needed £60m into the regional economy each year, while attracting an extra 300,000 visitors to the North East.
If the scheme gets the green light, the area will be transformed to incorporate an international flat floor convention and exhibition centre, as well as a state-of-the-art, 12,500 seat entertainment arena, a physically linked dual branded hotel, leisure and extensive public realm.
Gateshead Council have continued to grow and build for the future with the support of partners and business leaders, with them commenting on how the scheme will help aid economic recovery at this critical time.
Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “As our region looks to the future following the impact of COVID-19, investment in major projects like the Quays signals confidence to our wider investment and business communities and demonstrates a positive step for our economy, in particular to the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors, which have been severely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. The iconic design will complement its neighbours along the river, adding to the global recognition of the Tyneside Quayside.”
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber of Commerce and its members have long championed the Conference Centre. The area already boasts a world class visitor economy and this would attract influential leaders from all sectors globally to experience the delights and benefits of the North East which, in turn, will deliver a range of unquantifiable longer term benefits whilst delivering valuable immediate employment and revenue. In the current circumstances this development would demonstrate a real vote of confidence in our future which will be welcomed by all.”
Jennifer Hartley, Director at Invest Newcastle, added: “This £260m planned investment signals confidence and reassurance at a critical time for our economy. It’s a positive step towards the future as the pandemic continues to affect the industry, with events across the world being cancelled or rearranged. We look forward to the time when we can start welcoming people from across the world and see our venues and hotels thriving once more. The addition of iconic developments like this, will attract even more visitors and transform the experience for them when they get here. As well as create jobs and play a vital role in accelerating the repair and growth of our economy, this scheme will raise our international profile and accelerate further investment across a range of key sectors. The regeneration story of our quayside continues and this comes at a time when creating new jobs and opportunities for people has never been so important.”
The arena will act as a replacement for the Utilita Arena on the other side of the River Tyne and is expected to open in three years. International venue and event management company ASM Global has already been confirmed as the operator.
Designed by award-winning global architects HOK the ‘game-changing’ £260m scheme will have extensive areas of landscaped public realm including enhanced links between Gateshead town centre and the waterfront.
A full planning application has been submitted for the Quays development which is being hailed as the flagship recovery scheme for the region in terms of regeneration and jobs. A planning decision is expected in the autumn.