The council vacated in the 1980s. Credit: Chabe01, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Developer weighs up Gateshead Old Town Hall

The grade two-listed Victorian building is in the sights of regeneration specialist Capital&Centric, Place North East understands.

Capital&Centric has built up a reputation for taking on challenging historic sites, with a track record including a number of mill conversions in its Greater Manchester heartland, often working with councils and other bodies to bring about development on sites posing problems for different reasons.

The firm has also taken on projects such as the Littlewoods complex in Liverpool and two Sheffield projects, but to date has not ventured into the North East.

Place understands that C&C has looked at a number of sites in the area, with Gateshead Old Town Hall among them.

As part of the Old Town Hall Quarter, which also includes assets including Swinburne House and the Nelson Street office building, the Old Town Hall was among a suite of properties the council progressed the disposal of in 2017 amid a cost-cutting exercise. An operator was selected to take forward the Dinosauria visitor attraction, a plan that ultimately fell by the wayside.

A long leasehold is still in place with the party responsible, which it is understood is now considering speaking to developer partners.

Asked to confirm if C&C is looking to take on the Gateshead site, John Moffat, joint managing director at Capital&Centric, said: “We’re growing nationally and always looking to bring our approach to social impact regeneration to new towns and cities.

“We’ve a standout track record of taking on challenging plots that have stalled over the years and delivering something special. We’ve spent time in Gateshead and know it has real ambition. There are ideas in the works but all at an early stage.”

The Old Town Hall is one of remaining Victorian municipal buildings remaining in the North East. The building housed council functions for almost 120 years, before most civic functions were relocated to the new civic centre in 1987.

According to the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative website, the building has latterly been used by a number of social and cultural bodies.

Priding itself on working with a ‘design edge’, Capital&Centric has become one of the North’s most active and high profile developers, featuring on the BBC’s Manctopia and Channel 4’s Big Interiors Battle .

The business has just started its latest residential conversion of a Manchester mill, is delivering the large-scale Weir Mill project in Stockport and an eco-homes scheme in Bolton, and is transforming Wigan’s 1970s civic centre in partnership with the council.

Eyewitness Works, a former cutlery factory in Sheffield, is now complete, while plans are afoot for a mixed-use development at the former Stones bitter brewery in the city.

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