Regional Development Agency One North East is buying the former ice rink in Durham City Center to build a major new commercially-led development which will secure the renovation of the Riverside and Freeman’s Quay area.
According to a statement, the operation, which plans to knock down the site, will create a new block of around 14,000m2 office space, capable of accommodating an estimated 1,600 jobs and potentially creating a further 400 jobs.
The project is a key part of the Durham City Vision initiative, which is one of the principal regeneration initiatives in County Durham, and one of One North East’s strategic priorities for investment. Its members are Durham County Council, Durham University, Durham Cathedral, North East Chamber of Commerce and One North East.
John Mowbray, Chair of Durham City Vision and Director of Corporate Affairs for Northumbrian Water, was reported as saying: “the acquisition of the ice rink by One North East secures another significant piece in the jigsaw which will see major developments to improve, not only the look of Durham City, but also its economy over the next few years making it a better place to live, work and particularly, invest in”.
David Cramond, Director of Capital Development at One North East, said: “the former ice rink site presents a highly important and unique redevelopment opportunity in Durham.
“The ice rink building is widely accepted as an eyesore which dominates this length of the river, and is out of step with the adjacent modern Walkergate development, the award winning Freeman’s Place Leisure Centre and new hotel developments.
“One North East has acted to secure public sector control of this strategically located site and the demolition of an eyesore on the edge of a World Heritage Site.
“It has taken a lot of hard work by One North East and all our partners in Durham City Vision to reach this stage. We are now confident that development can move forward quickly and will have a major long-term economic impact on the city.”
The Regional Development Agency will now focus on seeking a developer to secure the regeneration of the area.