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Keel Square Hotel

Sunderland hotel takes step forward

A £16m hotel at the heart of Sunderland city centre, is set to ‘check in’, after developer Cairn Group submitted a planning application today

Plans for the 120-room scheme - on land overlooking Keel Square - were first mooted in 2017.  Now, Cairn Group, the company behind the proposals for the Holiday Inn hotel, has submitted an application that will be considered by Sunderland City Council, as planning authority.

The keenly-awaited addition to the city centre will be set over five floors, and will create 130 jobs when it opens its doors.  It follows an announcement that work will start later this year on City Hall, a £61m development that will become the base of the city council, as well as a number of public sector partners that will come together to provide more person-centric support to residents in the city – just a stone’s throw away from where the Keel Square hotel will stand.    

The hotel is one of a growing number of investment projects that is set to progress in the city centre, forming part of a £0.5bn vision to transform the heart of the city. 

Aneil Handa, a director at Cairn Group, said: “We’re delighted to be moving forward with this hotel development right in the centre of a city that is transforming, thanks to significant investment from both the public and private sector.

“We have been working closely with the team at the council to progress with plans and we’re pleased to be in a position to move forward with a planning application.  There is a growing sense of momentum in Sunderland and we’re looking forward to being part of that.”

The hotel will comprise ground-floor commercial units with opportunities for food and beverage outlets, that will add to the city’s daytime and evening economy.  The group is open to providing letting opportunities to both national operators as well as local businesses.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the High Street West hotel was yet more positive news for the city.

He said: “There can be no doubt about the level of ambition that exists in Sunderland, as we move forward with yet-more positive plans for the city centre.  And that’s attracting the attention of developers who want to be part of the bright future Sunderland is, undoubtedly, securing.

“Hotel developments represent much more than just the financial investment being made – they’re a vote of confidence in the city’s visitor economy – and we’re pleased that Cairn Group can see the vibrancy that is growing in Sunderland. We are a city to watch – a place that is transforming at a rate not seen for decades, and we look forward to seeing this new building added to the fantastic new spaces emerging from the ground in the city.”

Cairn Group has led several hotel regeneration projects investing in the region, including Holiday Inn Jesmond, Holiday Inn Scotch Corner, Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel, Cairn Hotel Newcastle, Rooms Inn Newcastle and DoubleTree by Hilton Newcastle International Airport.