1 September 2017 – Property Week
One of the most prominent – and longest-stalled – regeneration schemes in the North East took a step forward earlier in the summer when the Reuben brothers-owned Motcomb Estates announced plans for a boutique hotel.
The East Pilgrim Street site is designated as a key site in Newcastle City Council’s core strategy and urban plan and has consistently been identified as a location for major retail growth, providing space for the city’s retail, leisure and commercial centre to expand. Yet it has been derelict for years. So the news in July that GVA has been appointed by Motcomb Estates, which owns the entire East Pilgrim Street masterplan area, to secure operators for a new hotel and numerous restaurants was welcomed by many in the city.
The hotel is to be housed in the grade II-listed former fire and police station buildings, which are located on a corner site between Pilgrim Street, Market Street and Worswick Street. The wider area is the subject of a proposed public realm improvement scheme that aims to facilitate traffic calming and improve pedestrian access. Plans for the hotel drawn up by GVA and Ryder Architecture comprise around 100,000 sq ft of space, including a 60- to 70-bed hotel and 25,000 sq ft of food and beverage (F&B) space.
Separately, the adjacent Newcastle Magistrates’ Court could also be turned into a fine-dining restaurant. However, the court may yet decide to remain in the building, in which case plans for the development would have to be amended in order to reduce the number of leisure venues on the site.
“This is an exciting opportunity for an operator partner to bring forward a high-quality hotel and F&B offer, which isn’t currently provided within Newcastle city centre’s leisure offer,” says Ray Minto, director of land and development at GVA. “The development forms part of a programme of regeneration on Pilgrim Street extending from the Swan House roundabout up to Northumberland Street.”
According to Minto, further phases of the wider East Pilgrim Street development will be announced in the autumn. The site, once occupied by an Odeon cinema, has been allocated for mixed-use development and could accommodate around 600,000 sq ft of retail and leisure uses. It could also include office space and potentially a build-to-rent residential element, as well as around 600 car parking spaces. A masterplan for the project also includes plans for Bank House Square, the southern-most site within the development area, which could include up to 450,000 sq ft of mixed-use development, including new public spaces.
GVA hopes that planning permission for the first building on the site will be granted in early 2018 and that construction will begin in the spring. It has been a long time coming, but with the Reuben brothers having finally pressed the ‘go’ button, East Pilgrim Street could soon become a new gateway into Newcastle city centre – and provide the hotel accommodation the area has been sorely lacking for so long.