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Plans for a new £200m complex in Gateshead revealed

A new £200m (€226m/$260m) arts and leisure centre complex in Gateshead has the potential to change the concert arena business in the UK.

The site on the banks of the River Tyne will include a 12,500-capacity concert hall, conference centre and hotel.

The complex will sit between the existing Baltic arts centre and the Sage music venue, while its plans require the closure of SMG’s 11,500-seat Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

SMG is one of the project’s private investors that will need to produce a total of £175m, with Gateshead Council contributing £25m.

Despite there currently being no detailed plans, the council have said that its 10-acre site would strengthen the economy in the area by about £30m a year and create more than 500 new jobs.

Martin Gannon, leader of the Labour-controlled authority, said, according to the BBC: “We’ve wanted to regenerate and revitalise this key site on Gateshead Quays for a long time and internationally recognisable facilities of this scale have always been our long-term aspiration.

“Not only will they bring new life to the area, but they will bring new jobs and significantly boost the local and regional economy.

“We’re now more confident than ever that we can finally push forward with our exciting plans for this £200m site.

“Working closely with our development partners, SMG Europe, local partners and the private sector, it really is time to give the North East another landmark destination and complete the picture of this truly unique, riverside site.”

Executive vice president of SMG Europe, John Sharkey, said: “The Gateshead Quays development site is truly a unique location which will offer visitors a whole new experience.

“Our new entertainment, conferencing and exhibition facilities, standing shoulder to shoulder with Sage Gateshead and Baltic will, we firmly believe, further cement Gateshead Quays as a popular and stunning world-class cultural destination.”

Former Animals member Chas Chandler founded the Metro Radio Arena in 1995. The arena has hosted many top music acts including Janet Jackson, Bryan Adams, Rihanna, One Direction, Oasis, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé.