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Gateshead Quays conference centre to create 1,000 new jobs

The new £260m waterfront Gateshead Quays will create more than 1,000 new jobs for the local community, providing a catalyst for the North East.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Peter Udall, Gateshead Council’s service director said. “The council has committed so much. It is absolutely critical to the north east and will be a regional benefit.”

Gateshead Quays, which is expected to cost around £260m, will be completed by 2023, has 6,300 sqm of exhibition space and 2,800 sqm of meeting rooms. There will be an HQ hotel, a budget hotel as well as a performance area and offsite multi-storey car park facilities.

“The site sells itself, as it is on the riverside overlooking Gateshead. A stunning, iconic building. It is the missing piece of the jigsaw,” Udall said.

The service director at Gateshead Council said the development was keen to offer opportunities to the independent sector to provide more variety. “The Quays is a catalyst will raise the profile of the region and make it worthy of coming to. It is the start of an urban regeneration and somewhere people want to invest in.”

Venue management group SMG Europe was announced as the operator for Gateshead Quays. John Sharkey, executive vice president of SMG Europe said: “We’re delighted to be working with Gateshead Council on this exciting scheme, to move our established business across to such an iconic, central location. The North East has always been an important region for SMG and we look forward to building upon the ongoing success of the Utilita Arena and Whitley Bay Playhouse, to further develop the events landscape and strengthen the North East economy. “

Paul Szomoru, director of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming SMG, with their national and international expertise, to be the operators of this significant investment to create the UK’s newest arena, conference and exhibition centre on Gateshead Quays; this is an urban core development, in a vibrant location on the banks of the River Tyne which brings an iconic and very special backdrop for any event, exhibition or conference.

“Adding to our already outstanding business events offer of venues and hotels, our accessible location this is realising our long-held ambitions to be able to host major national and international events which align to the business and research strengths of our region and the UK government’s industrial strategy.”

Kerrin MacPhie, head of business events at VisitBritain, said: “The new business events development on Gateshead Quays will enhance the strength of the UK’s already thriving business events sector and it is great to see such an investment happening in the North East of England. The team at VisitBritain look forward to working with SMG and NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau to raise awareness of this new venue development, further encouraging international planners to bring their events to the UK.”