An international hunt for a developer to help shape and deliver the final phases of Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter has been set in motion at European property festival Mipim.
Newcastle City Council has appointed property experts Knight Frank to help find a joint venture (JV) partner for the scheme, after the authority unexpectedly cut original developer the Clouston Group out of the scheme.
The six-acre, mixed-use development scheme in the shadow of Central Station has been officially launched to the market in Cannes, France, at Mipim, the world’s biggest property event.
A new, flexible masterplan for the site has been drawn up and will be unveiled at the launch event today hosted at the Invest Newcastle stand.
It details the scope to develop grade-A new-build offices, refurbished creative workspace, residential buildings and a small amount of retail and leisure space across nine different plots.
Developers will be able to suggest changes to the masterplan and bring their own ideas on how to maximise the site.
A new JV partner will then be appointed, following a competitive tender process.
In all, the first phases have brought in around 1,000 jobs and it is hoped a further 1,000 could be created in the next stages, contributing in total around £100m a year to the regional economy.
The Stephenson Quarter scheme was first launched when Clouston Group, which had previously developed the Silverlink business park and the Trinity Gardens scheme close to Newcastle Quayside , bought the Stephenson Quarter from a church charity in 2004.
The site was taken over by the council when Clouston needed assistance during the financial crash, and a deal was put in place for the firm to purchase back parts of the site when key developments were completed and payments were made to the council.
The council ended that contract last June, saying the company had failed to make agreed payments to the council.
Clouston successfully completed the first phase of the project with the building of the Rocket office building, a Crowne Plaza hotel, a multi-storey car park and the Boiler Shop events space, and the second phase, the North East Futures University Technical College.
Council chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “The Stephenson Quarter has created more than 1,000 jobs and is one of the city’s most important development sites so close to the region’s gateway, the Central Station.
“The first two phases of development have seen it grow with grade-A offices, a university technical college, events space and a conference hotel – but the site has much more to offer. We are now at a critical new stage – looking for a developer to match our big ambitions in a £200m development that will see new homes, offices and leisure space providing an economic boost to the city.
“As one of our Accelerated Development Zones, the Stephenson Quarter is an extremely attractive opportunity for the right developer.”
Patrick Matheson, partner at Knight Frank Newcastle, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be appointed to help the council find the right developer to take this site to the next level.
“The potential here is huge and we will be looking for a developer with solid credentials and a strong vision. The site’s location will be a big draw for potential office occupiers, given its close proximity to Central Station.
“There will no doubt be keen interest from investors looking to capitalise on rental growth in the city and the site will ensure the important grade-A offices pipeline is boosted.”
Source: Newcastle Chronicle