A £6.4m regeneration scheme to create a retail and office complex on the site of the former Jesmond Picture House could create 100 jobs, developers have said.
Plans for The Jesmond have been unveiled to the business community, outlining supermarket giant Sainsbury’s plans to take on a large chunk of the space, which has room for at least nine businesses, through both office and retail.
The three-story scheme is being led by property investment firm MK Partnership, with support from the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a European Regional Development Fund grant, a result of its pledge to create job opportunities for North East SMEs.
As well as providing in excess of 2,000sqm of workspace, The Jesmond will have outside terrace areas on two of the three floors and the building facade will be crafted from reconstituted stone rather than concrete.
Sainsbury’s have long awaited the redevelopment on the former cinema site, but their plans have been met with concern by other small businesses, as the new store will be just a stone’s throw away from existing Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets.
However, the firm and developers said the new store aims to provide local shoppers with greater choice and convenience.
Building work will get under way soon and designs were conceived by architect Kevin Owens, the man behind the design for venues in the London 2012 Olympic Games – both at the Olympic Park and outside of the main park.
Enlisting Mr Owens represents a major coup for the project, with the award-winning architect’s current work list including England’s Rugby World Cup in 2015 and a new urban masterplan in the Middle East.
Sunil Mehra of the MK Partnership said: “We are delighted to unveil the updated plan for this historic site that will help regenerate the area and deliver a huge amount of value to the local economy.
“We are privileged to have such a talented and passionate architectural team behind The Jesmond.
“Stuart Palmer at Studio-SP has maintained the design integrity of Kevin Owens’ original concept to deliver a building with contemporary and exciting design that will become a landmark not just in Jesmond but Newcastle as well.
“Alongside the significant economic benefits that this scheme will deliver, we firmly believe The Jesmond is a fitting tribute to the original building and this site.”
The project is now being managed by Knight Frank in Newcastle, the selected agent for the project.
Although plans for the site formerly occupied by the Jesmond Picture House were delayed due to the recession, MK Partnership said the launch of The Jesmond marks the end of that period as well an improving economic climate.
Mr Mehra added said: “We have invested a huge amount of time, effort and resource over the last few years to ensure we can restore this site into a top quality, state-of-the art and environmentally-friendly building, whilst also making it work for the local community.
“We have maintained a high quality scheme without compromise by taking a measured approach to the project.
“Once our grant application was signed by the Secretary of State and additional ERDF support was assured, the time had come to deliver The Jesmond.”