Capital & Centric targets Gateshead for regeneration

Social impact developer Capital & Centric has set its sights on Gateshead as part of an expansion plan to take its brand of regeneration to the North East of England.

Capital & Centric — known for delivering neighbourhoods and bringing historic buildings back to life — has identified the town and region as a natural growth area.

It is in now talks with Gateshead Council to potentially develop the Old Town Hall and sites around it. The council owns the freehold of the site, and a 250-year lease is in place to allow regeneration plans to come forward.

It is part of the developer’s nationwide hunt for challenging brownfield sites that have not come to fruition over the years, as it seeks to expand beyond its home stomping ground in Manchester.

Some of Capital & Centric’s best-known projects include Manchester’s Crusader Mill, and the iconic Littlewoods art-deco building in Liverpool, which it transformed into a film studio.

Co-founders Tim Heatley and Adam Higgins featured on Channel 4’s Big Interiors Battle last year.

“The pair have steadily gained a solid reputation for imaginative reinventions of old buildings and brownfield sites, from Victorian mills to brutalist concrete 60s relics,” said Gateshead Council.

“They are currently working on a conversion of Talbot Mill — one of Manchester’s oldest and largest untouched mills. Brownfield projects are also underway in Liverpool, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, and Wolverhampton.”

Anneliese Hutchinson, the council’s Interim Strategic Director for Economy, Innovation and Growth, said:  “Capital & Centric’s record of accomplishment in developing historic buildings nationwide by breathing new life into them speaks volumes and we look forward to working with them on plans to regenerate our town centre.

“The Old Town Hall is a jewel in the crown for Gateshead as it 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 Grade II listed building was the council headquarters for almost 120 years, before the council chamber, civic suite and most council offices relocated to the new Civic Centre in 1987. The building has latterly been in use by a few social and cultural sector bodies, but it has always been our intention to look at a more permanent solution.”

John Moffat, joint managing director at Capital & Centric, said: “Gateshead has huge potential, and the council has real ambition for the future of the town centre.

“We are proud of our track record in turning around problem brownfield sites and are actively looking to repeat our success in the North East. For us, it is not just about bricks and mortar, it is all about creating genuine neighbourhoods that pique interest from a design perspective and encourage a sense of pride locally.

“We are in discussions with the council about getting involved in key sites in Gateshead and things are looking promising. As soon as we can, we will reveal more about what is in store as part of community consultation with local people.”