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Design & Development

New plans submitted for £330m Gateshead Quayside arena project

The Sage project in Gateshead

Featured image credit: Ask:PATRIZIA

New plans have been submitted for the mixed-use entertainment district at Gateshead Quayside with backers targeting the beginning of construction before the end of this year.

Developers Ask:PATRIZIA have submitted a new planning application for the HOK-designed £330m scheme – which will be known as The Sage – after the original blueprint, which was approved in 2020, had to be modified due to concerns over cost and the presence of an 11-storey hotel.

Both the 12,500-capacity arena and the exhibition centre – which will be operated by ASM Global – have undergone minor design changes. In place of the hotel, which will instead be built on a nearby plot, is a “linear park” that it is hoped will act as a link between the riverside and the Baltic Business Quarter.

The Newcastle Chronicle reports that the updated application is expected to come before Gateshead Council’s planning committee this summer, with building work potentially starting in the autumn.

Planning consultants Lichfields wrote in the submission: “The proposed development represents an ambitious and commercially grounded mixed-use scheme which will provide a critical mass of cultural and business facilities on the unique river frontage of Gateshead Quays.

“The proposals will build upon the existing landmark developments which encompass the surrounding area through the delivery of a 12,500-capacity indoor arena, approximately 5,700 sqm of exhibition space, and an extensive public realm which links all buildings, leisure and retail into one holistic environment.”

The Sage’s arena 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 in 2023, but the completion date was pushed back to 2024 and then to 2025 in January of this year.

At the start of this year, 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 £330m. Initial estimates had put the project at £260m.

The business and entertainment district will be the largest of its kind in the North East and it is estimated the project will provide a £70m (€84m/$93.6m) annual boost for the local economy, creating 2,000 jobs.