Enabling works have begun on the NewcastleGateshead Quays arena, conference and exhibition centre scheme.
Developer Ask:PATRIZIA has instructed contractor BAM Construction to work on the initial preparation works to the site between the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Sage Gateshead and Gateshead College on Hawks Road. Gateshead Council has led the development of the site which involves some £300m of regeneration investment.
The enabling works package is a significant step forward for developing the arena and conference centre scheme which is expected to create some 2,000 new jobs (during construction and to operate the complex on completion) and provide around a £70m annual boost to the local economy.
BAM is working with several key partners, suppliers and sub-contractors to ensure a smooth start to the work and to minimise disruption to roads and footpaths around the development site. Full construction work will begin next year under a separate contract.
NewcastleGateshead Quays will feature a world class arena, purpose-built conference and exhibition centre, restaurants, a dual-branded hotel and large areas of outdoor realm and performance space. It is anticipated the site will attract over a million additional visitors each year and it is due to complete in 2024.
The development will connect directly to Gateshead’s district energy network, including cycle provision across the site and capacity for electric vehicle charging points. BAM and Ask:PATRIZIA are examining a range of sustainability enhancements and a plan for significant social value measures.
Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: “We are delighted to see work beginning on what is a vital site for Gateshead and the wider region. We will work closely with our partners and local stakeholders to ensure the development progresses smoothly and we deliver a project that creates good quality jobs and provides a huge boost to our economy.”
John Phillips, regional director for BAM Construction North East, said: “Gateshead and the north east are very significant to us because our people and our hearts are there and we know the local companies and suppliers so well. It’s a transformational scheme which everybody will benefit from and we have a wonderful opportunity to use our time here to enhance lives and give something back to Gateshead and its people. I’m very grateful that trust and confidence in BAM has allowed us to become involved at this stage. We continue to work hard on what is a large, complex scheme in tough market conditions.”
Leading hospitality group Accor is bringing its Novotel and Ibis Red hotel brands to the scheme and the 12,500 capacity arena, exhibition centre and conference space will be managed and operated by ASM Global.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership provided £5m from its Local Growth Fund to support designs and site investigations for the Newcastle Gateshead Quays scheme and a further £7m from government’s Getting Building Fund to support the establishment of infrastructure locally, to create a new link road connecting Baltic Quarter with the A184 and Felling bypass and build a new multi-storey car park. Both the Local Growth Fund and Getting Building Fund are managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.