A fresh CGI was produced following consultation. Credit: planning documents

Dakota eyes Newcastle green light

Replacing vacant 1990s-built offices at St Ann’s Wharf on the Quayside with a 118-bedroom conversion is the goal of Leeds-based Evans Property Group’s hotel arm.

Planning advisor Lichfields launched a consultation for the project in June, revealing plans for the conversion of a building vacant since autumn 2022. Bradley Hall advised on the acquisition of the building.

The professional team also includes KPP Architects, Envirotech, PWP, Fore, Dragonfly Consulting, Hydrock, Delta Simons and JPG.

Contractor GMI has provided a construction environmental management plan.

The St Ann’s Wharf building was developed as part of the East Quayside regeneration project by the Tyne & Wear Urban Development Corporation in the late 1990s.

Some minor alterations to the building’s façade fronting the Quayside are also planned, with a 6,300 sq ft extension at ground floor level to cater for a new entrance lobby.

At present, the gross internal area of the building is 73,415 sq ft.

The existing courtyard at the front of the property will be reconfigured to provide a small drop-off area – parking-wise, the building is well serviced by a 190-space car park to the rear.

First floor level bedroom terraces will be added. New balconies at second floor level will also be introduced as part of a scheme that will offer four floors of bedrooms.

Following consultation, KPP has looked to address a wish to respect where possible the arch designs that formed part of the building’s post-modern design.

The 112 Quayside site sits close to the Millennium footbridge, linking the area to the part of the Gateshead riverfront about to receive a £150m conference centre, along with an events arena.

In summing up the recommendation for approval, planning officers said: “The change of use of this building to a hotel will further act to promote the Quayside area as a world famous leisure destination.

“The resultant enhanced quality of accommodation available for visitors and associated dining and drinking facilities arising from this development will add to the vibrancy of the Quayside and wider city centre and is in accordance with Council’s Urban Core policies which promote development which will diversify and widen the night-time economy in the Quayside area.”

In a part of the quayside not noted for its greenery, the change of use will bring a softer touch, officers added: “The provision of hard and soft landscaping within the front courtyard area and as part of new roof terraces will provide green infrastructure and biodiversity gains.

“The development will also incorporate measures to reduce its impacts on the environment, including the installation of enhanced photo-voltaic units on the roof. In its commercial setting, no adverse impact to local amenity will arise from the proposed hotel and ancillary bars and restaurant uses.”

Dakota is positioned as a high-end hotel brand. As well as its home city of Leeds, there are Dakota hotels in Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Motherwell.

Newcastle’s planning committee meets on 31 August. The reference for the Dakota project is 2023/1019/01/DET.

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The original Developer of this building was Amec Developments Ltd – now subsumed into Muse. The Development Corporation was the enabler through infrastructure provision to Quayside generally but took no development or investment risk on the building which was designed to accommodate lawyers Dickinson Dees

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