Footage gives stunning glimpse of progress on City Hall

Dramatic footage of the newest building to rise from Riverside Sunderland has been shared today, showing significant progress during lockdown. 

Sweeping shots, captured overhead, show City Hall now standing largely in place, after huge concrete blocks were assembled, which will be connected together by a glass atrium. 

The new 190,000 sq ft hub will house a range of public sector and support organisations and has been funded by investment giant Legal & General.  Bowmer + Kirkland were appointed as the construction partner for the development at the end of last year, and despite temporary pauses due to COVID-19, work has been able to move forward, with the building – which will become the new home of Sunderland City Council and a range of support organisations – now starting to take shape.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said that many people living, working in or visiting the city will be surprised by the changing skyline since spring.

He said: “The progress really has been incredible over the last few months, and anyone who has not been into the city centre since lockdown in March will see a very different skyline to the one they witnessed prior to the crisis. 

“The safety of people working on site has been paramount, and we have sought reassurances at every stage that work has been able to progress in-line with Government guidelines.  The nature of the development and the stage we were at with the build meant work could safely resume, so the transformation over the last few months is really dramatic. 

“We’re determined to deliver a city centre that our residents can be proud of – a place where visitors want to play and businesses want to invest – and the £100m commitment we secured from Legal & General last year was a huge vote of confidence in that plan.  We’re on course and very excited about the future.”

The footage – which was captured using a drone camera - gives a bird’s-eye glimpse of the building, which is the first of a trio of new office spaces that will be delivered by Legal & General.  The construction of City Hall is a significant step forward in an ambitious vision for the city centre, that will see the former Vaux Brewery site transformed into a vibrant new urban quarter, where thousands of people will live and work.

City Hall, designed by award winning architect Faulkner Brown, is due for completion in Autumn 2021, and is twice the size of The Beam, the first building to be constructed on the Riverside Sunderland site. 

The construction project – which was awarded to Bowmer + Kirkland last year - creates a number of benefits for local residents and companies as part of the council's community wealth building programme. It also creates a number of full-time and apprenticeship opportunities for local Sunderland residents, with a commitment that £29m will be spent in local supply chains and £9m with local SMEs.

City Hall is one of a number of significant projects underway in the city centre.  It follows the completion of The Beam, which is now home to online grocer Ocado, as well as two other growing businesses.  And City Hall will be followed by two more offices on the Riverside Sunderland site.

Elsewhere in the city centre, a 450-seater auditorium is taking shape; plans are afoot to transform the former Gilbridge Police Station; a new hotel is set to rise from the ground on Keel Square; and old buildings including the Elephant Tearooms, Mackie’s Corner and the River Wear Commissioner’s Building are set to get a new lease of life.  The seaside is also seeing waves of investment, with a new inn with rooms and the STACK Seaburn, a family-focused leisure venue, also progressing. 

Watch footage at: