Town Hall could be transformed into attraction; developers sign up for 250-year lease on listed site.
Byline: COREENA FORD Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
GATESHEAD'S historic Old Town Hall could soon be turned into a major visitor attraction after an agreement was reached with developers from the North East.
A call out was made last March for a developer to regenerate the Old Town Hall Quarter, when the Grade II-listed town hall was put up for sale together with a patch of land surrounding the former heart of the town.
Now it has emerged that the Old Town Hall Quarter is on the verge of being sold to Dinosauria Ltd, an entertainment business which has had plans to create a top attraction in the North East for several years.
Gateshead Council agreed at its last cabinet meeting on January 23 to lease the site to Dinosauria Ltd on a 250-year lease as part of its strategy to sell off surplus assets, paving the way for the building to be turned into an attraction.
The plan is being driven forward by Newcastle wealth managers Tier One Capital, which held an event a few years ago in a bid to bring investors on board.
Documents were sent to potential investors detailing opportunities for investment through the EIS investment scheme, which provide investees with a range of Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax benefits.
Dinosauria Ltd was initially driving forward plans to create a dinosaurthemed centre, to complement the region's existing museum and educational offering with a more interactive and engaging experience for children. It is now understood, however, that dinosaurs will not be the theme of the attraction.
The Grade II-listed building was the council headquarters for almost 120 years and the sale of the building, marketed by property agents Cushman and Wakefield, also includes councilowned buildings such as Swinburne House which was previously used as a bank, a building society, and the borough's first public library and post office.
The Old Town Hall is the only surviving purpose-built Victorian town hall in Tyne and Wear and is one of only five comparable listed Victorian town halls in the North East.
The council chamber, civic suite and most council offices were relocated in 1987. The building has latterly been used by a number of mainly social and cultural bodies.
Old Town Hall Quarter, Gateshead