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New Arena, Exhibition Center and Hotel Approved for NewcastleGateshead Quays

HOK-designed development will be first of its kind in region, bringing new entertainment, jobs and visitors to Gateshead and accelerating the city’s transformation.

Gateshead Council Planning and Development Committee has approved plans for a new waterfront arts and leisure development on the banks of the River Tyne. Framed by views of historic Newcastle and Gateshead, the £260 million NewcastleGateshead Quays will include a new 12,500-seat arena, an adjacent conference center, a dual-branded hotel, and large areas of public realm and performance space.

HOK’s London studio led the master planning for NewcastleGateshead Quays and has designed the arena, conference center and public plazas. Planit is the landscape architect. AHR Architects is designing the hotel.

Comprising more than 585,000 square feet, the arena-led regeneration continues the transformation of the Gateshead and Newcastle waterfront from its industrial past to a modern destination for recreation and culture. The project will sit amongst some of the UK’s most distinctive cultural and civic spaces, including the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Millennium Bridge and Sage Gateshead.

“NewcastleGateshead Quays is an amazing opportunity to combine the new arena and conference center with the existing highly successful Sage and Baltic Quarter,” said John Rhodes, design principal and director of Sports + Recreation + Entertainment at HOK’s London studio. “The project will attract visitors from across the UK and Europe and deliver highly memorable experiences within an architecturally distinctive space.”

The development nestles within the existing riverfront landscape, honoring the surrounding civic spaces and natural geography. Pedestrian-friendly connections will open new accessways, linking NewcastleGateshead Quays to the town center and the new Baltic Quarter to the waterfront.

HOK designed the arena, the development’s anchor component, be highly flexible, allowing it to host music, cultural and sporting events as well as conferences and exhibitions. Its unique seating bowl features fixed, retractable and removable seats offering multiple configurations and the ability to accommodate audiences ranging from 1,500 to 12,500 people. The adjacent conference center comprises more than 67,800 square feet of exhibition and convention space with expansive views of the riverfront. Plazas surrounding both the arena and conference center allow for spacious outdoor gatherings.

Ask:PATRIZIA, a consortium of Ask Real Estate and PATRIZIA UK, is developing the project with Gateshead Council. Sir Robert McAlpine has been appointed to build the project. Construction will begin in spring of 2021, with parts of the complex opening in 2023.

“We have brought together a world-class team of designers, architects and operators to deliver this scheme, which will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations,” said John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate. “Now we look forward to starting construction and bringing these superb public facilities to life.”

Once complete, NewcastleGateshead Quays is expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs and generate £60 million annually for the local economy. Venue management firm ASM Global will operate both the arena and exhibition center, which could host as many as 300-plus events per year and attract more than 750,000 visitors.

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