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Search for developer for prime Durham City centre site gets underway

A developer is being sought to deliver a new use of a prime city centre site.

Durham County Council has appointed global commercial property consultancy, Knight Frank, to seek out a developer for a rare opportunity in the heart of Durham City.

The 0.23 acre site is next door to the county council-run Gala Theatre on Millennium Place, within the city’s conservation area and only a short walk from the World Heritage Site of Durham Castle and Cathedral.

The development site includes 13-17 Claypath which is former council offices that were decommissioned in 2013 and 3-5 Millennium Place which is currently vacant office space and ground floor retail unit.

The local authority is looking for a developer that can deliver “an exemplar development which achieves high levels of sustainability and complements the site’s unique historic setting.”

The location would be suitable for a number of uses which could include but is not limited to retail, leisure, offices, and hotel – or a mix of any of these uses, subject to detailed planning consent.

Cllr James Rowlandson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said: “We see this as a key opportunity for creating employment, economic and leisure benefits for the city and its people, and for County Durham as a whole.

“This is a very important development for the city and the chosen scheme will be required to complement the wider cultural offering, as well as add to the vibrancy of Millennium Place.”

The opportunity is now open for expressions of interest by contacting Knight Frank’s Newcastle office and interested parties will be required to sign-up to the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) portal in readiness for the tender.

Patrick Matheson, partner at Knight Frank in Newcastle which is marketing the development opportunity ahead of the tender bidding process, said: “This is a rare proposition to develop a piece of Durham City that has a significant historic fabric and we’re expecting interest to be high.

“It’s a prominent location, well served by amenities, facilities and public transport including the train station which is a short walk away. Its proximity to Durham Market Place and Millennium Place means there is a sizable pedestrian footfall and quick access to key city centre attractions including the stunning Durham Cathedral and Castle.”

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