Metrocentre Partnership Acquires Former Brewery Base

The owners of the UK’s biggest shopping centre are set to redevelop a former North East brewery base on neighbouring land, following an undisclosed deal.

The Federation Brewery in Dunston, Gateshead, has lain empty since production of Newcastle Brown Ale switched from the region to Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, 12 years ago. The building was acquired by Intu soon after, and the former shopping centre owners had planned to redevelop the site. Those plans, however, hit the buffers when the retail giant fell into administration two years ago.

Now, the Metrocentre Partnership has bought the former brewery base in Gateshead, kickstarting plans to create a new development at the 12.9 acre plot, with the Metrocentre owners saying they plan to create a leisure offering to complement its neighbouring retail property. The Metrocentre Partnership, advised by its asset manager Sovereign Centros, said it had acquired the former brewery site from KPMG, the administrators acting on behalf of Intu following its collapse.

Business Live are reporting that the site was marketed by Savills in mid-2021 and was subject to a two-phase bidding process. The price paid was undisclosed. A statement issued by the partnership said: “The site forms an integral part of the wider Masterplan for Metrocentre and is a key site within Gateshead Council’s Action Area Plan.

“Its acquisition will provide the opportunity for the introduction of a variety of non-retail uses particularly leisure which will allow the Partnership to introduce big scale regional attractions. Other uses including business, commerce and residential will also be outlined for the future as the centre continues to expand its influence on the area.”

Meanwhile, the Metrocentre has announced that phase two of its solar panel project is under way, with installation expected to be completed by December.

The second phase of the development, which aims to ensure a more sustainable future for Metrocentre, sees the installation of solar pv car ports and 46 new EV charging ports in the Green and Blue Mall car parks. It follows the installation of solar pv rooftop panels covering an area equivalent in size to 88 tennis courts.

With the 46 new EV charging bays delivered and the solar panels fitted above each parking bay, this will allow the retail and leisure destination to provide emissions-free ‘fuel’ for 7,230 electric car miles by the end of the year.

The leisure and shopping complex is working with specialist renewable energy and green technology consultant Syzygy to complete the £2.8m project.

Ben Cox of Sovereign Centros, senior asset manager for Metrocentre, said: “This is a really important milestone for us as we head into the next phase of our solar panel project with Syzygy. “A solar panel and car port installation of this size has never been seen before in a UK shopping centre and upon completion of the project later this year, Metrocentre will have the largest solar panel installation of any UK shopping centre.”

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