Construction was scheduled to start on transforming the historic Stephenson Quarter around Central Station in March 2011 but funding problems stalled the job.
Now Newcastle City Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership have helped developer Silverlink to arrange funding deals with Aviva and Royal Bank of Scotland to allow Miller to start on site next month.
The 10-acre site next to the Grade 1-listed station will include a 251-bed four-star hotel, residential apartments, commercial offices, an art gallery and exhibition space and restaurant facilities.
The first phase is worth £44m and will deliver the Crowne Plaza hotel, which has been financed by Royal Bank of Scotland.
It will also feature ‘The Rocket’ – a multi-use building providing 35,000 sq ft of Grade A offices and 357 car parking spaces leased to the City Council on a 35-year term and financed by Aviva, who will take ownership on completion.
The site contains some of the country’s most significant heritage buildings, including the offices at 20 South Street, where Robert Stephenson’s engineering works gave birth to the railway age.
Ian Jubb, Regional Managing Director, Miller Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver another major landmark project in the heart of Newcastle.
“The Stephenson Quarter project will help to bring new life to the city centre and support the overall vision to regenerate the city centre whilst retaining the heritage and proud history of the area.
“We look forward to delivering these prestigious projects to the highest standards whilst keeping the city centre ‘open for business’ during the construction phases.”
David Clouston Chairman and Managing Director of Silverlink, said: “The commencement of this scheme signals the beginning of a new chapter in Newcastle’s history.
“We have been working on this for over 10 years and it has required determination and skill. We are committed to delivering a new district in the city which will stand alongside any major European city.”
Pat Ritchie, chief executive of Newcastle City Council, said: “This project demonstrates the pivotal role the council plays, in a very difficult market, creating the right conditions for business growth by helping to bring private sector partners together to deliver the infrastructure and investment to get the economy moving.
“We have worked very hard and painstakingly for three years using our capital resources and prudential borrowing powers to mobilise a powerful public private partnership to unlock a development, create much-needed jobs and build investor confidence in our city as we prepare for the upturn.
“The Stephenson Quarter is a key part of the City Deal being delivered in practice and it will have a powerful, energising impact on business growth in the region.”
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We have acted decisively, in the face of the economic downturn, to unlock development and help create much needed jobs and growth.”