Construction can begin on the £260m Gateshead development, which will include a 12,500-capacity arena managed by ASM Global, after plans were given final approval by the local authority.

Gateshead Council’s planning committee on Wednesday morning gave the green light to the proposals submitted by its development partner Ask:PATRIZIA.

The redevelopment scheme, to be built by the NewcastleGateshead waterfront at Gateshead Quays, will feature a 29,000 sqm arena venue for entertainment and sports alongside international conferences, meetings and exhibitions as well as festivals and cultural events. A source for the project told TheStadiumBusiness that boxing, darts and basketball are among the sports set to be staged at the arena.

Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2021, with the venue to open in late 2023. The scheme, which is 54,500 sqm in total, will be designed by HOK Architects and built by Sir Robert McAlpine.

As well as the venue, the project will include a purpose-built conference and exhibition centre, restaurants, a dual branded hotel and large areas of outdoor realm and performance space. It is anticipated that it will attract more than 338,000 additional visitors to the region each year.

Tom Lynch, director of business development (Europe) for ASM Global, said: “This ambitious and transformational development will create a genuinely unique events campus with an iconic waterfront location.

“ASM Global has enjoyed over 25 years of success in the north east and we look forward to leveraging our global and local partnerships with leading entertainment, sports, corporate, convention and exhibition event producers, to cement NewcastleGateshead’s reputation as a sought-after business, leisure and cultural destination.”

It is estimated the regeneration scheme will see the creation of around 2,000 new jobs in the region, giving a £60m annual boost to the local economy.

“We’ve wanted to revitalise this key site for a long time. Our long-term aspiration has always been to bring internationally recognisable facilities of this scale to not just Gateshead but the entire region,” said Martin Gannon, Gateshead Council Leader.

“This project is transformational, and today’s decision signals confidence in the north east. Newcastle Gateshead Quays will be a global leader in entertainment, leisure, and hospitality but most importantly it is about creating new employment and training opportunities for thousands at a time when they are badly needed.

“Despite the current challenges, we need to remember the worth of the events industry. We look forward to opening the venue late 2023.”

The scheme includes elevated areas with panoramic views across the River Tyne and 40 new seating areas as well as cycle provision across the site and capacity for electric vehicle charging points within the Council’s new multi-story car park. It will also connect directly to Gateshead’s district energy network.

Speaking on behalf of the Ask:PATRIZIA partnership John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate said: “We have worked closely with the Council and the wider stakeholders to ensure this regeneration scheme delivers maximum benefit to the wider region and will put this iconic waterfront on the map internationally. 

“We have brought together a world-class team of designers, architects and operators to deliver this scheme which will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations. We look forward to now starting construction work and bringing these superb public facilities to life.”

Images: HOK International / Video: ASM Global