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Ideas & Observations

Approval for redevelopment of former city centre bank

A new multi-million-pound residential and hospitality development on the site of the former Allied Irish Bank (AIB) headquarters in Newcastle will go ahead following planning and listed building approval.

The news will see the former AIB North East office at 9 – 17 Collingwood Street, which has been vacant for nearly nine years, transformed into a ground and mezzanine floor bar and restaurant complex.

Twelve serviced apartments will also be built above on the first and third floors, providing high quality accommodation to meet the strong demand for city centre living space.

Plans for an onsite concierge, a gym and cycle storage will also move forward as part of an ‘exciting’ project that will see most of the existing frontage and infrastructure retained, while the overall space is boosted by the addition of a third-floor extension to the rear façade.

Project developer Portland Real Estate Group has appointed a main contractor to carry out the redevelopment. This is predicted to create a number of jobs during the initial construction phase with further jobs to be created by both the service apartment and restaurant/bar operators.

The initial phase of onsite construction work will start imminently with the occupiers and guests expected to be welcomed towards the end of the year.

North East planning firm Hedley Planning Services has worked with Portland Real Estate Group to secure approval for the development from Newcastle City Council’s planning committee.

Managing director Sean Hedley said: “This is great news, bringing a well-known site in an attractive location back into use and securing its long-term future. The new development with its nearby transport links and easy walking distance to a range of facilities and services, will significantly contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the local economic sector.”

Mohsin Rashid, director of Portland Real Estate Group, said refurbishment of the Victorian built site comes at a time of rising demand for high quality short or longer-term city centre leased accommodation.

He added: “We are delighted to secure planning permission for this exciting project and now look forward to getting our plans underway on a prestigious project that will see the transformation of a great city centre location.

“Redevelopment will rejuvenate a site that has been left vacant far too long and see it become a well sought-after location, where people can stay and experience the best the city has to offer.”

“We would like to thank the local authority, listed building and consultants who have all aided in bringing this project to life. Their input and experience have been invaluable”

The grade II-building was built between 1890 and 1891 for a private bank and was last occupied by Allied Irish Bank until 2013, but it has been vacant ever since and the upper floor office suites have been derelict even longer, having been vacated in the late 1990s.

Picture: Hedley Planning Services has secured approval for the redevelopment of the former AIB North East office on Newcastle’s Collingwood Street