Plans unveiled for £200m Gateshead riverside arts complex
A huge £200m arts and leisure complex planned for the banks of the River Tyne in Gateshead has been announced.
It includes a 12,500-seat concert hall, conference centre and hotel and will sit between the existing Baltic arts centre and Sage music venue.
Gateshead Council will invest £25m in the project with the rest of the money coming from the private sector, including venue operator SMG.
The scheme will mean the closure of SMG's 11,500-seat arena in Newcastle.
Detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, but it is hoped the new complex will open in 2021.
The council said it expected the 10-acre (four hectare) scheme would create more than 500 jobs and provide a boost to the North East economy of about £30m a year.
Martin Gannon, leader of the Labour-controlled authority, said: "We've wanted to regenerate and revitalise this key site on Gateshead Quays for a long time and internationally recognisable facilities of this scale have always been our long-term aspiration.
"Not only will they bring new life to the area, but they will bring new jobs and significantly boost the local and regional economy.
"We're now more confident than ever that we can finally push forward with our exciting plans for this £200m site.
"Working closely with our development partners, SMG Europe, local partners and the private sector, it really is time to give the North East another landmark destination and complete the picture of this truly unique, riverside site."
Part of the plan is to close the nearby Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle - conceived by former Animals member Chas Chandler which opened in 1995.
Executive vice president of SMG Europe John Sharkey said: "The Gateshead Quays development site is truly a unique location which will offer visitors a whole new experience.
"Our new entertainment, conferencing and exhibition facilities, standing shoulder to shoulder with Sage Gateshead and Baltic will, we firmly believe, further cement Gateshead Quays as a popular and stunning world-class cultural destination."
Newcastle City Council said it would now be considering what to do with the current arena site.