The former head office and printing factory for publishing group Northeast Press has been bought by bathroom and kitchen retailers Tecaz in a deal set to create 60 jobs.
Echo House on the Pennywell Industrial Estate – headquarters for the Sunderland Echo and other papers in the group as well as the firm’s printing press since 1976 – was first put up for sale in 2013.
Now the 89,000sqft property and its 5.6-acre site have been acquired by Tecaz, which will refurbish the site and transform it into a new warehousing and distribution hub to serve its three North East retail stores, while also doubling its current stockholding capacity.
The site, which was marketed by Naylors Chartered Surveyors, had an asking price of £850,000 but it is not known how much the sale was made for.
Financial director Kenneth Dawson said: “The site is ideally placed with easy access to the A19, to feed the three retail stores in North Shields, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, plus facilitate the delivery to its escalating national internet business.
“Although Tecaz already has 80,000sqft of warehousing at North Shields, Sunderland and Stockton, the additional high bay warehousing will enable it to double its already comprehensive range and stockholding.
“The increase in capacity will provide the area with up to 60 new jobs when fully operational.”
The building, which includes the print factory and office space, is to undergo a huge renovation programme to install updated IT systems, high bay pallet racking and a showroom to compliment its website business.
It was announced in July 2013 that North East Press was hunting a new home after putting the Pennywell site onto the market, a sale triggered by a decision to move production to Sheffield.
The company said at the time that it wanted “more suitable premises in the area” and the group has since moved into office space at Rainton Bridge.
Keith Stewart, head of industrial agency at Naylors, who sold the building, said: “This has been a complex deal with a number of parties involved and we are very pleased to have successfully completed the sale.
“The building is unusual in that it is a 50/50 split of industrial and office space, which isn’t ideal for most end users.
“However it presented a perfect opportunity for Tecaz to combine their office, trade counter and storage facilities whilst providing them with a highly prominent and accessible location, which was one of their key requirements.”