Regeneration group takes alternative approach to city redevelopment

The company behind the £100 million-plus regeneration of Sunderland is marking its first year in business. Twelve months which have seen major steps forward for its flagship project and progress in breathing new life back into locations across the city.

Siglion, a development and regeneration company, was set up to handle the inclusive, sustainable and long-term social and economic redevelopment of five sites across Sunderland.

The plan is already taking shape with work beginning soon at the gateway to Sunderland city centre, the former Vaux Breweries site. Plans to build a speculative 60,000sq ft office development have been approved and permission has also been granted for the wider master plan at the key location.

Plans are also being considered to build 750 new homes at Chapelgarth, bringing new people into Sunderland to live and work, and a planning application for a major leisure, retail and residential redevelopment on the seafront at Seaburn will be submitted within the next few months.

Siglion chief executive John Seager said: “Siglion is taking a sustainable and inclusive approach to regenerating the city, and we’ve worked with the local communities at every step to create plans that will benefit Sunderland socially and economically over the long term.

“So much is happening in Sunderland – the new Hilton Garden Inn has just opened next to the Stadium of Light, work on the new River Wear crossing is underway to provide a striking new entry point to the city, the former fire station is being converted into an exciting cultural hub and Sunderland is bidding to become the 2021 City of Culture.

“What is different and exciting about Siglion is that as a developer, we can carry out our own developments but we can also facilitate. Our set-up is designed to encourage other people to invest in the city.”

Siglion also demonstrates effective partnership working in the city, being a joint venture by Carillion and Sunderland City Council, managed by igloo Regeneration.

The Vaux redevelopment is aiming to put Sunderland on the map and there will be a number of opportunities for national names to get involved, from hotel operators to companies seeking modern, new quality office accommodation. The fantastic seafront location at Seaburn also offers hotel, leisure and retail opportunities, as well as house building options.

Siglion marked its first anniversary with the launch of the River Wear Commissioners’ Building at the heart of the city. The property, which is owned by the developer, is a hidden gem fitted out in marble and oak, with office space and a large boardroom. The 1907 building has major potential as a venue for weddings, christenings and meetings.

John Seager said: “The River Wear Commissioners were formed in the 1700s and they opened up the port, dredged the river and set up the quays so international trade could take place.

“They had a massive influence on the achievements of Sunderland throughout the industrial period. They did so much for the social and economic wealth of the city and in a way, that’s what we feel Siglion can do because we are putting the infrastructure in place to create a vibrant and attractive atmosphere.

“People will come to the city because it’s a place they want to be – people work hard, the quality of life is great and it’s a fantastic place to have a business. There are opportunities here for everybody.”

Irene Lucas CBE, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an important milestone for our joint venture company, which will bring new life, new opportunities and new economic growth to the city in the coming years. It’s great to mark the occasion at one of the city’s historic gems, the River Wear Commissioners Building, and celebrate the green light for progress at the nearby Vaux site, both being brought back to life by Siglion.”

Neil McMillan, chair of Siglion, said: “In 12 short months we have set out long-term aims for three major sites in Sunderland, and are now getting underway on the city’s gateway site at Vaux. Siglion’s focused energy and commitment is making a difference to Sunderland’s future, and we intend to build on this year’s work to transform major sites, create new growth and boost investment.”

Sunderland is known internationally as the UK home of Nissan, Europe’s most productive car factory. It has a strong automotive supply chain that has grown up around the Japanese car giant.

The city is a magnet for overseas investment and 80 companies from 20 different countries employ 25,000 people in Sunderland. It also boasts a world-class university, a Premiership football team and the new River Wear Crossing will be taller than Big Ben.


Things you didn’t know about Sunderland:

  • It’s the largest UK city by the sea
  • It has a population of more than 275,000 with more than two million people living within a 30-minute radius
  • It’s the ‘third richest city in the UK’, according to scientists who looked at the assets the city has to offer versus the things that play the greatest role in leading a rich and fulfilled life
  • £1.2 billion has been invested or is earmarked for investment in the city by 2024
  • It’s a major cultural hub, from the Empire Theatre – the West End of the North – to a new music and arts centre opening in mid-2016

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.

Siglion, a development and regeneration company, is a joint venture by Carillion and Sunderland City Council, managed by igloo Regeneration.