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Art deco building gets the go-ahead.

Byline: James Marley

PLANS have been approved to turn Newcastle's iconic Co-op building into a major city leisure destination. The site will be developed into an hotel, shops, restaurants and gym.

Newcastle-based Merchant Place Developments (MPD) has been granted planning permission by the city council to redevelop the famous building on Newgate Street.

MPD's project director, William Grafton, said the news is a boost for Newcastle city centre.

"We are delighted to be granted permission to transform this prominent and very well known Grade 2 listed building into a six-storey, 150,000 sq ft, development that brings much needed space into one of the city's key leisure circuits," he said.

Up to 200 jobs could be created at the development. Funding is now in hand through a Business Premises Renovation Allowance syndicate which allows individuals to enjoy 50% tax relief as well as enjoy an investment in one of Newcastle's most recognisable buildings let to Travelodge and other key tenants.

Grafton said: "This is a most important, pivotal, city centre location which places this landmark building in such a strong position next to The Gate leisure and multiplex destination and opposite Capital Shopping Centres' Eldon Square South development and Debenhams in particular.

"Further, not only is it a prominent city centre location, the development sits close to the city's large and important China Town, St James' Park football ground and also the part of the city's Discovery Quarter that has seen considerable office development, which in turn has attracted occupiers from the financial and professional services sector, Newcastle University's Business School, with BSkyB being one of the latest to commit to space here."

Travelodge is to operate a 231-bedroom hotel, and The Co-operative will continue to operate its food store within the building.

Grafton said: "Now that we have planning permission, we can complete the lettings on the remainder of the space which, at pre-application, was substantial either as pre-lets or at an advanced stage."

The development comprises The Co-operative building on Newgate Street and the adjoining building in St Andrew's Street, where the main entrance to the Travelodge hotel will be formed.

"Again this brings a large hotel into the centre of the city which will be a boost for the city's economy as well as providing jobs. "Access wise the development is close to the city's Central Station and St James' Boulevard, the main access into the city centre from the south," added Grafton.

The Co-operative building is classic 1930s art-deco. A contractor will be announced this autumn. Work will start in early 2012 with restaurant and retail space being available later in the year.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2011
Words:460
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