A huge crater in the heart of Newcastle marks the first stage of a £100 million regeneration of a run-down section of the city centre.
New photos have been revealed of work to bring a “landmark” 14-storey office block to the site of the demolished Bank of England building in Pilgrim Street.
Contractors have been breaking out the massive vaults that lay beneath the former bank before work can start on the new Bank House building, leaving a large hole where the bank once stood next to the Swan House Roundabout.
It is hoped that the plans from Taras Properties, the development vehicle of the billionaire Reuben brothers, will kickstart a wider transformation of East Pilgrim Street to replace derelict and dilapidated buildings with news offices, bars, restaurants, and more.
Coun Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “Hailed a catalyst for the wider regeneration of East Pilgrim Street, signature projects like this form part of our wider plans to kick-start our city centre transformation, accelerate growth and create jobs for our people.
“This major step forward for Bank House signals confidence for the future, with this £100m gateway and route into the heart of our city playing a vital role in the recovery and revival of our urban core.
“It will help us to create a destination that brings communities and businesses together, encouraging greater footfall to support all sectors.
“Our city centre is the economic, cultural and leisure hub of the North East and we want to further establish our city as a European destination of choice for both people and businesses.
“We will continue to deliver signature projects and interventions that help us to create a place where businesses can thrive, and that people are proud to call home.”
Contractors from Bowmer + Kirkland began work to clear out the site in October and it is hoped that the new Bank House will be completed by spring 2023.
The land was home to the Bank of England since the 1960s, but was left empty for several years before being demolished in 2012.
Councillors granted planning permission for the 14-storey Bank House building in 2019, despite complaints that the huge tower will be overbearing and was simply a “statement of the developer’s power”.
Roger Thornton, of Taras Properties, said: “We are very pleased to have started work. Bowmer + Kirkland have made excellent progress since commencing on site and over the coming months there will be very visible changes to the site.
“We continue to work with Newcastle City Council on various matters and appreciate their support.
"Once complete, Bank House will be a significant contribution to the Newcastle office market.”