June 27 2019 @ 14:17 by Richard Dawson
New computer-generated images of a £260 million Gateshead Quayside arena complex have been revealed, showing how the project could transform the waterfront.
The development, which will act as a replacement to the Utilita Arena (formerly the Metro Radio Arena), is set to open in 2023, with a 12,500-seat arena, conference and exhibition centres, as well as a range of hospitality facilities.
Located on land between the Sage and the Baltic — currently used as a car park — the new development has been hailed as one of the most exciting in the country.
The latest images released this week, offer the first glimpse into what the inside of the arena could look like, as well as new designs for the exterior leisure and entertainment complex.
Talks have been ongoing between council bosses and investors for a while as they look to secure the cash injection needed to fund the development.
Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said: “This is an exciting step forward for Gateshead and North East England.
“Working with SMG is a game changer for the project and for this landmark site. It will build on our existing iconic developments on Gateshead Quays creating a truly world-class cultural, events, entertainment and business destination.
“This development is a catalyst for regional growth within the retail, hotel and leisure sectors.”
It has been predicted that the new arena complex could generate around £30 million a year for the local economy, attracting 300,000 visitors to the North East and creating 1,140 new jobs.
SMG Europe, the company that runs the Utilita Arena, will operate the new venue.
Executive vice president of SMG Europe, John Sharkey, said: “The North East has always been an important region for SMG, and we look forward to building upon the success of the Utilita Arena and Whitley Bay Playhouse to further develop the events landscape and strengthen the North East economy.
“This ongoing commitment and investment, allied to the vision and ambition from Gateshead Council and AskPatrizia, demonstrates a very clear bellwether for the regional economy, and the attractiveness of the events sector in NewcastleGateshead.
“We look forward to working with a range of national and regional partners, to bring more entertainment, conferencing and exhibitions to Gateshead Quays and cement its reputation as a world-class leisure and cultural destination.”
The official planning application for the project is expected to be submitted later in the year.