1.5bn reasons to be cheerful

Sunderland Business Partnership has been collating the level of investment being ploughed into the city since last year, and with new projects like The Launch – the new promontory to be built on the Vaux site; the extension of The Bridges shopping centre; and further plans to improve the Cultural Quarter, with the restoration of The Londonderry pub, the cumulative total has reached a new milestone figure.

The business partnership, chaired by former Sunderland AFC-commercial director Gary Hutchinson, has been working with organisations like Sunderland City Council and regeneration organisation Siglion to keep tabs on the fast-growing investment total.

Mr Hutchinson said: “I think there is a definite sense in Sunderland that the city is changing, that there is a momentum building.  However, feeling it and being able to quantify it are two different things, so we started to collate the figures and to see how that sense of momentum is playing out in real terms – i.e money being spent.

“It was instantly clear that the numbers backed up our belief of change in the city.  We identified £1bn of investment very quickly – and then £1.2bn by the middle of last year.  Now, with more announcements of major infrastructure projects, we have seen that Sunderland is attracting £1.5bn of public and private sector investment – investment that will absolutely transform the city.

“It’s an incredible figure and is a reason for people in Sunderland to feel confident that the future of the city is bright.”

The figure includes projects that are already underway, like the third Wear crossing, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, and the Vaux development, which got started in December.  It also includes projects like the development of a new hotel on High Street West and the Hope Street Xchange, the University of Sunderland’s new enterprise hub at St Michaels Way.

“We’ve seen hugely significant projects get off the ground over the course of the last year.  People say that the measure of a city-on-the-up is the number of cranes you see, and I can scarcely recall seeing so much activity in Sunderland to rebuild the city.  We’re a place that is really starting to realise its potential – to think big, and by 2024 – a date we set on when developing the 3,6,9 Vision, which is a blueprint for Sunderland’s growth in the next three, six and nine years – we will be a very, very different city.”

To keep up to date with key developments in the city, visit www.sunderlandvibe.co.uk

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