A NEW £20m Newcastle city centre development is almost three quarters let weeks before the building is due to be completed next month.
The first tenants are already trading from the eye-catching Haymarket Hub which has been created at the Haymarket Metro station at the northern end of Northumberland Street.
The nine retail outlets have all been let, or are at advanced negotiations with prospective tenants, and 28,000sq ft of the 40,000 sq ft of office space is close to completion with one interested tenant.
Bill Lynn, chief executive of storeys:ssp, said: "We are delighted to have got all of the space let or under offer, but we were always confident that the position of the units had such high pedestrian flows which would be a draw for tenants and enable us to achieve pre-lets."
Confirmed retail tenants include HBOS, which has taken two units, the Central Bean Company, Metro News and the New York Haircutting Company.
Negotiations are also taking place with a milk shake company, a cafe-delicatessen and a noodle bar for remaining ground floor retail outlets.
No one is yet lined up for the 12,000sq ft of office space on the second floor but the 28,000sq ft on floors three, four and the mezzanine level is well-advanced with one business set to take it all.
Mr Lynn said the rents achieved were "realistic" in the current economic climate and varied from £13,000 a year for some of the retailers to £400,000 a year for HBOS’ two outlets
Ken Hunt, director of 42nd Street (Haymarket Hub) – which is a development partnership including Nigel Vaulkhard of 42nd Street Realty, Tolent and Closegate Developments added: "We are in advanced negotiations with several parties for the upper floors office accommodation."
The build cost of the scheme is £20m with contractor Tolent delivering the project on time and within budget.
The building, which is directly over the Metro station, was designed by Newcastle firm Reid Jubb Brown Architecture.
The station itself is also being changed, with the distinctive panelling of the underground Metro station’s panels, unchanged since 1980, being replaced with small enamel panels designed to curve the walls.
An artwork by Sunderland University lecturer Lothar Goetz, featuring striking bands of colour circling round the tunnel walls, will take shape as the remaining panels are fitted.
Public transport operator Nexus says the new design will be a blueprint for other city centre stations.