A HISTORIC building in Newcastle city centre is to be turned into a £4m mixed-use development, creating 10 construction jobs.
Newcastle-based Michigan Investments Limited completed the £1.74m purchase of the 180,000 sq ft Bruce Building in Percy Street after negotiations with Storeys Edward Symmons, property and asset consultants, acting on behalf of Newcastle University.
Most of the Bruce Building, which dates back to 1900 and was formerly Newcastle Breweries’ headquarters, is vacant, but there are plans for the creation of 60 high-spec studio and one-bedroom apartments, as well as a cafe/restaurant, retail units and serviced offices.
It is hoped that by bringing the listed end of the building back into commercial use, it will create about 10 construction jobs.
Mark Walton, director of Michigan Investments, has seen first-hand the rise in demand for city-centre apartments in recent years in his role as MD of Walton Robinson lettings and estate agency, which is currently based in the Grade II listed three-storey property.
He said: “The Bruce Building has been home to Walton Robinson for over a decade now. It is going to prove invaluable in terms of the company’s long-term future and development of all departments with WR involved in the refurbishment, furnishing, letting and management of the apartments.”
Bought by Kings College of Durham University in the 1950s, it became part of Newcastle University in 1963. The project will transform the interior.
Walton said: “Michigan Investments have acquired an exceptional property which is currently under-utilised and requires care and attention to bring it back to its former glory.
“We are looking forward to seeing the finished article improve the landscape at this end of the city.”
Bill Lynn, of Storeys Edward Symmons, added: “Ourselves and the university were keen to find a purchaser who would be sympathetic to the building’s history and status and be a complimentary use for the University. The negotiations took place over several years with timing and access arrangements dependent on the adjacent development which was completed earlier this year.”
Funding for the purchase was arranged with the Newcastle branch of Handelsbanken.
Mike Brunskill, branch manager at Handelsbanken, said: “We have been working with Mark for some time on this transaction and his plans for the iconic Bruce Building are very exciting. We are delighted to have become principal bankers to Michigan and are equally delighted to be part of this major city-centre renovation project.”