Tenders have been issued for securing new contractors at Sunderland’s Vaux site.
Sunderland City Council and its development partner Siglion had to halt construction work in January this year. This was following the collapse of Carillion Construction, the company appointed to complete the site’s first building.
The council and Siglion have completed legal formalities and Carillion’s construction contract is now officially terminated. A tender process with other contractors has now begun.
Subject to the tenders, an announcement about site work starting again will be made in coming weeks.
Councillor Harry Trueman, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said there had been a lot of work behind the scenes on getting new tenders drafted as soon as possible.
He said: “Though the news of Carillion’s collapse was a set-back, this has only served to galvanise the city in its determination to deliver job creating development at Vaux.
“Vaux has always been a flagship site and many have described it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. This development is one about expanding the footprint of our city centre, and bringing jobs and economic prosperity to Sunderland.”
The City Council acquired the site from supermarket chain Tesco in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, the council prepared the Vaux site for development by removing contaminated materials and demolition. In 2013 and 2015, a major re-shaping and re-modelling of the city centre was completed with the creation of the Keel Square and St Mary’s Boulevard.
Long-term plans remain to develop the former brewery site into a new business district to create more city centre jobs, offices and pedestrian traffic. This will help improve perceptions of Sunderland city centre for shoppers, businesses, and residents, and bring more investment.
Cllr Trueman said: “Vaux is a site we have fought to deliver. We know it will bring about a step-change in our city centre and, teamed with other city developments, we are all pleased to be getting back on-track.”
Overlooking the River Wear at the northern edge of the city centre, the site is widely regarded as one of the North East’s most significant regeneration sites.
John Seager, Chief Executive of Siglion, said: “The process to appoint a contractor for the final construction phase on site is underway, and we hope to be in a position to announce more details on that soon.”
Mr Seager added that the priority had been to ensure that the project would be delivered in a way that provides continuity, in terms of the sub-contractors and ensuring minimal impact on the warranties and terms of the original contract.
He said: “It’s been a complex and very involved process to move this forward, but we have been resolute in our aim to fulfil the original vision for this stunning building – the priority from the moment work was stalled, was to ensure that we were able to get back on site as quickly as possible, and deliver this important building to the city.”