The creation of a new central business district (CBD) is one of the key elements of the Riverside Sunderland Masterplan. When fully developed, the CBD will provide more than 1 million square feet of high quality office space, tailored to the needs of leading UK and international businesses. It will provide accommodation for 8,000 - 10,000 jobs, generating footfall and expenditure across the city centre.
Sunderland is already an international city, home to Nissan and major brands like Nike, Tombola, Barclays and Berghaus. The central business district will enrich and diversify the city’s offer, providing modern workspace in a stylish city centre environment with superfast connectivity. Inward investors will be attracted by access to a rich talent pool, including graduates of the region’s five universities, an accessible location and excellent digital and transport connections.
"We have been staggered by the level of talent, skill and ingenuity that exists in this part of the world.
"We were convinced that Sunderland could offer much as a place to do business, but even we could not have anticipated just how many great people we would find to help drive the company’s development."
The CBD will be developed in phases, starting in Vaux – close to the Beam and City Hall – before moving to new sites linking St Mary’s Boulevard to High Street West. Flagship buildings in Vaux include the 60,000 sq feet The Beam – the first new office building in Riverside Sunderland when it opened its doors in 2019 – and the 190,000 sq feet City Hall, designed by regional architects faulknerbrowns, which will open in 2021.
Construction of two new office buildings, which will deliver a total of 210,000 sq feet of Grade A space, will start in 2021. Part of a £100m investment in the city by Legal & General, these buildings will enjoy uninterrupted views of the river and the new high level bridge.
"It's a hugely exciting time with so much regeneration going on in Sunderland, and we’re delighted to be part of it. We’re here as long-term investors in the city, focused on making a long-term difference.
"Our ambition is to create a space where businesses are able to prosper – to do good work, in a place designed to be good for the planet, good for the health and wellbeing of the team who work there; and at the heart of a community where people enjoy a good life."
St Mary’s Boulevard will be the CBD’s main street. It will be upgraded to create a stylish green boulevard, including a new urban square and open spaces which will encourage people to move freely between Vaux and the historic heart of the city. The redesigned street will reduce traffic speeds to create a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists. To minimise the impact of cars on the central business district, parking will be concentrated at either end of the site, at St Mary’s and a new multi-storey car park in Farringdon Row.
The central business district will be complemented by a major employment site (earmarked for a life sciences facility) at the west end of St Mary’s Boulevard, and space for small businesses and start-ups in Sheepfolds.