Showstopper for Sunderland Plans unveiled for £80m new leisure development in heart of city

SUNDERLAND city centre is set for a showstopping addition, with early plans for a large-scale arena and events space revealed for Riverside Sunderland. 

Sunderland City Council has set out a game-changing vision for the site of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre, with plans for a massive leisure investment anchored by a new 10,000-capacity, multi-purpose arena, that will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city every year. 

As well as this large indoor arena, the multi-use leisure development will feature a food hall, restaurants, a hotel and studios, together forming a unique destination that will have something for everyone.

The council is working with a range of partners to deliver the project, including a UK based industry-leading operator to shape the plans. The project has already attracted over £20m in funding from Sunderland City Council and national Government and will move into advanced design stages if Sunderland’s Cabinet sign off the proposed budget for the scheme.

The new development – which will deliver a huge boost to businesses in the heart of the city – will be a vibrant visitor attraction by day and night.  Together with transformational projects that are underway and planned for the former Vaux Brewery site and Sheepfolds, the arena plans mark an ambitious new phase in Sunderland’s city centre evolution, which council bosses say is about creating an experience-led destination.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The rate of transformation in our city points to the level of regeneration we are delivering for Sunderland, and this development raises that bar higher”. 
“We set out an ambition to bring more experiences to the city as part of our Riverside Sunderland investment strategy, and you only have to look at the change to date in the city centre to see that it is more than an aspiration – it’s something we’re determined to make a reality”.
“We’re transforming Sunderland – we’re delivering on our promises to residents – and we’re proud to be spearheading a programme of change in Sunderland that is unlike any period of change in living memory.  This new investment will be an incredible addition to the city centre.”

The scheme will create a much richer mix of attractions and activities in the city centre, with an emphasis on complementing and supporting the existing successful cultural attractions in the city, such as the Empire Theatre, the new Auditorium and the investments in Keel Square including the planned Culture House and the Keel Square Holiday Inn.

The arena forms part of the council’s successful bid to the UK Government’s Future High Street Fund, which is earmarked to enable the demolition of the remains of the former leisure centre and to undertake associated works to accelerate the plans.  The development will be subject to a long-term lease agreement with a leisure operator, the income from which will recoup the council’s initial investment.

To stay up to date with the latest Riverside Sunderland developments, visit www.riversidesunderland.com