The opening date for The Sage, a new arena and conference centre on Gateshead Quayside, has been pushed back to 2025.
Last week, Gateshead Council secured £20m (€22.7m/$24.6m) from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support the development of the project, which is expected to cost around £300m.
The mixed-use entertainment district will be operated by ASM Global and will be anchored by a 12,500-seat arena, which will host music and cultural events as well as sports such as boxing, darts and basketball.
It had originally been hoped that the arena could open this year, but the completion date was pushed back to 2024. Construction work was put on hold while the council awaited confirmation of the Levelling Up funding, which has contributed to the opening date being delayed further until 2025.
“Due to a combination of external factors which are outside the council and its partners’ control, including the delayed LUF announcement, soaring construction costs, and escalating energy and inflation costs, the completion date will now be extended to 2025,” Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said, according to The Chronicle.
“Gateshead Council, the developer and all partners are committed to ensuring that development will be completed in 2025. We are working to mitigate any further impact on timelines on an ongoing basis.”
As part of cost efficiencies, two planned hotels have been relocated to vacant land within the Baltic Quarter, directly opposite The Sage. A planning application has been submitted to relocate the hotels, with the land occupied by the hotels in the original design to be opened up as an urban park.
The Sage is projected to drive an additional one million visitors to Gateshead Quayside, which it is hoped will lead to increased footfall through Gateshead town centre and provide a positive impact on local business.
Global architecture and engineering firm HOK announced in March last year that plans for The Sage had been approved.