Developers behind £5m Bruce Building conversion eye further opportunities

The business behind the £5m conversion of a historic Newcastle building into student accommodation and office space is now eyeing further development opportunities across the North East.

The iconic Bruce Building on Percy Street – formerly the headquarters of Newcastle Breweries – has been redeveloped to offer 57 apartments, 4,000sq ft of office space and a restaurant. Half of the office provision has been taken by property company Walton Robinson.

The Grade II-listed building, which dates back to 1900 and had been part of Newcastle University since 1963, was purchased in 2013 by Michigan Investments Limited, with a view to developing it into much-needed additional city centre student accommodation.

The first phase of the development will open in late September, with the entire project due to be completed by the end of November. The Hotspur pub, which occupies part of the Bruce Building, has remained open throughout the 18-month conversion.

Now Michigan Investments has revealed it is looking at several other development opportunities around the North East, following the completion of its biggest scheme to date.

Mark Walton, director of Michigan Investments and also managing director of Walton Robinson, said: “This is a beautiful building which has been very carefully restored and reworked over the course of many months to create a truly outstanding mixed-use development.

“At Walton Robinson, we see first-hand the growing demand for city centre accommodation, and interest in the apartments is even stronger than expected. I am delighted we will be based in the Bruce Building, with our sales and lettings and our management offices in two separate units, as this is without doubt one of the most exclusive developments in central Newcastle. Our strong track record in asset managing means that tenants can be assured of an outstanding management service, as well as premium accommodation.

“Through Michigan Investments, we are looking at a number of other opportunities in the region which we are keen to develop, and hope to soon add to the highly sought-after developments already in our portfolio.”

Construction work on the Bruce Building has been done by Gateshead-based Meldrum Construction, and the architects were Space Group, based in Newcastle.

Funding for the project was procured by corporate financier Mark Nixon through Lloyds Bank, and the real estate and construction legal work was handled by Newcastle law firm Sintons.

Alok Loomba, Partner in the Real Estate team at Sintons, said: “The Bruce Building is an iconic part of Newcastle city centre, which has had new life breathed into it through this outstanding development project. We look forward to working with Michigan Investments as they push on with their ambitious plans for other projects across the region.”

Dave Meldrum, Managing Director of Meldrum Construction, said: “Being so central in Newcastle’s city centre, the Bruce Building has been a challenging but exciting development. Bringing the historic building up to a 21st century standard of student accommodation has breathed new life into it, and working within the eastern wing which has Grade II listed status has been truly fascinating, with its antique fireplaces, extensive ornate tiling and solid oak flooring and doors.”

Andrew Bumfrey, Associate Director at Space Architects, said: “We are delighted to be associated with this project, which provides a significant investment in such a landmark building. The mixed-use development brings a range of vibrant functions adding a new charter to the building’s history.”

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