The developer wishes to expand its consent to 90 bedrooms. Credit: planning documents

PLANNING | Approvals for Newcastle space R&D hub, hotel

Along with Northumbria University’s NESST project, Taras Properties’ proposals to bring the high-end Hotel Gotham to the former fire and police stations has been greenlit.

The university sought detailed consent for a five to seven-storey building, including the partial reuse of the existing 1973-built Wynne Jones Building, to house NESST – a centre for North East Space Skills & Technology.

To be shared with industry partners such as Lockheed Martin, the 59,000 sq ft Ryder-designed building is billed as “a world-class R&D, educational and incubator facility for the regional, national, and international space sector”.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “The UK’s space industry is worth more than £17.5bn to the economy and employs 48,000 people in some of the most skilled and productive jobs.

“We are fortunate that Northumbria University is one of the leading universities for solar and space physics making it a valuable asset to the region, so naturally I am delighted that this space and technology centre has been approved by planning committee.

“It’s an exciting development that will support the creation of 350 jobs and inject £260m into the North East’s economy.

“The focus that Northumbria University has in bringing together the space industry and academia complements their commitment to contribute towards our Inclusive Economic Strategy by enabling local people to realise their potential through the creation of high skilled jobs of the future.”

Ryder is the architect on both NESST and the hotel plan. Credit: planning documents

Ryder is also the architect on the Pilgrim Street hotel project, where Bespoke Group’s luxury brand Hotel Gotham is lined up as operator for a venue that will sit alongside the grade A office space sprouting up in the area.

A consent was already in place for a 60-bedroom hotel in the old fire station’s envelope, but the plan is now to go up to 90 bedrooms by working in the adjacent former police station and magistrates court building.

Matt Verlander, planning director at advisor Avison Young, said: “This is an excellent scheme bringing forward a high-quality hotel and dining offer which isn’t currently provided within Newcastle city centre.

“The transformation of these sensitive and historic buildings will transform the environment of Pilgrim Street with the hotel forming part of the wider programme of development on Pilgrim Street extending from Bank House and Worswick Chambers in the south to Pilgrim’s Quarter – the new home for HMRC – in the north.”

Cllr Alex Hay, cabinet member for a thriving city and inclusive economy, said: “This is an exciting and imaginative redevelopment scheme in the heart of East Pilgrim Street – a part of the city centre being brought back into life.

“This 90-bed hotel not only shows developer confidence in the city, it will create over 130 jobs and generate £2.3m per year for the local economy through hotel spend and overnight stays.

“I am pleased three Grade II Listed buildings, that have been empty for many years, are being sympathetically converted in a way which enhances their historical features opening up the city’s heritage to the wider public.

“I look forward to work starting soon and seeing these fascinating buildings being transformed.”

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