Chronicle Live – 25th March 2019
The Bank House scheme could create space for as many as 1,900 workers and act as a catalyst for Pilgrim Street’s transformation
Proposals to create a landmark building with the potential to create up to 1,900 jobs in Newcastle have taken a step forward. Plans emerged at the start of the year for Bank House, a 14-storey office scheme planned for the former Bank of England site at the junction of Pilgrim Street and Swan House roundabout, which could kickstart a multimillion-pound transformation of the East Prilgrim Street area. The proposal is being driven forward by Taras Properties, a vehicle set up to drive forward plans for the land owned by the wealthy Reuben Brothers.
Now Taras, through its agent Avison Young, has officially submitted detailed proposals to Newcastle City Council planners, asking for permission to build the office building. The plans will provide up to 204,000sqft of space, through 10,000 sq ft floorplates of open plan office space with views across the city, as well as retail space on the ground floor, and Taras Properties is seeking permission to open a bar or restaurant at ground level.
The project is likely to create hundreds of jobs through the construction phase and the plans detail how the office would have space for between 1,400 and 1,900 workers, making it one of the largest Grade A office developments in the city for the last 10 years. The scheme will also involve public realm areas with planting, new seating areas and realignment of the junction of Pilgrim Street with the 55 Degrees roundabout.
The Bank House scheme is the first phase of proposed plans for Bank House Square, a £100m vision to create 4,000 jobs, two further office buildings, a public plaza and a new underground car park. A design statement by Ryder Architecture highlights the importance of the plot and its significance within the development framework for East Pilgrim Street. It also notes how the original bank vaults still lie beneath the site, stretching down two storeys.
The document says: “Bank House represents an important catalyst for the broader redevelopment of the East Pilgrim Street area. The original bank vaults and basement structures remain below the site, accessed from Carliol Square. The site is heavily constrained by the existing two storey deep basement bank vault structure, impacting upon the design of proposed foundations and basements and the broader positioning of the building footprint above. The site presents an excellent opportunity for significant landmark development as set out in the Newcastle City Council development framework. “
“On the axis of the Tyne Bridge, the site is a key gateway and arrival point to the city from the south. The scale and quality of development reflects its position within the city and projects a positive impression of the city to commuters and visitors on arrival. At ground level, there is a significant opportunity to bring life back to an important historic street and to provide an appropriate and complementary setting to the listed buildings on the western side of the street. At upper levels, the development makes a positive statement within the city skyline and benefits from outstanding views to the north, south and west across the city centre and the Tyne Gorge.”
It adds: “The development acts as a catalyst for the regeneration of the wider area and to set a quality benchmark for this prominent city centre gateway reflecting the city’s history, its culture and its aspirations for a successful and vibrant future.”