Proposals for the conversion of a Middlesbrough office building into a hotel and apartment complex have been given the green light.

The plans were submitted to Middlesbrough Council, outlining proposals to convert the Vancouver House office building in to a 102-bed hotel and 26 one and two-bedroom apartments.

The scheme also includes allocation for a restaurant/café and a gym facility/ banqueting hall.

Changes of use will occur on the ground floor, with three retail units becoming a single space for a restaurant/cafe. The first floor will become a series of banqueting halls. The existing second to fourth floors will be used for the hotel, while the existing fourth to fifth floor will contain residential units.

There is a provision for 45 to 50 sheltered cycle spaces, with 28 off-street parking spaces provided within the existing site.

Vancouver House, which has accommodation over basement and six upper floors extending to circa 92,285 sq ft, is situated on the junction of Gurney Street and Corporation Road in Middlesbrough town centre.

The 1980s building is currently used as predominantly open plan office accommodation at the first to fifth floors, with a number of small retail / leisure units on the ground floor.

Teesside independent commercial property consultants Dodds Brown LLP and national agents CBRE have brought to the market a new café / bar/ restaurant unit as part of the Centre Square grade A office development in the heart of Middlesbrough city centre.

Located on the ground floor of 1 Centre Square, which will be home to 720 Middlesbrough Council staff when they relocate from the Civic Centre later this year, the unit extends to 4,500 sq ft with potential for subdivision and a generous external seating area opening onto Centre Square opposite MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art).

“This will undoubtedly be the best located Cafe/restaurant unit in Middlesbrough and will build on the recent success of the Holiday Inn Express, national restaurant brands Bistrot Pierre and Turtle Bay and the independent food and beverage operators on Baker/ Bedford Street which have all raised the standard and broadened the appeal of the food and beverage offer in the city centre,” explains Richard Wilson, Senior Associate Partner at Middlesbrough-based Dodds Brown.

“The city centre now offers a first class performance venue in the newly refurbished town hall and with a recently opened Premier Inn and a new Best Western Hotel planned for Vancouver House on Corporation Road, the new Food and Beverage unit presents an unrivalled opportunity for the right operator to capture the day time trade from the office workers that will be based in the new Centre Square offices, but also to benefit from shoppers and leisure visitors extending right through to the evening and night time economy.”

James Fox, Director in the Leeds office of CBRE, adds: “Centre Square is one of the most important civic open spaces in the region and will increasingly be the focal point for events and activities, while Middlesbrough has a growing reputation for hosting major events, such as Radio One’s Big Weekend, a Take That concert and Rugby League World Cup matches in 2021.

“Phase two of Centre Square will bring a further 100,000 sq ft of office space and once completed potentially a total of 3,000 office workers for the whole development. Phase two will also have a cluster of restaurants, cafés and bars in a further ground floor food and beverage space of 5,800 sq ft, opening out onto Centre Square.”

Further information about the Food and Beverage opportunities at Centre Square is available from Richard Wilson at Dodds Brown on tel. 01642 244 130, or from James Fox at CBRE on tel. 0113 394 8800. Further information about the grade A office space in Centre Square is available via the Centre Square website.

Budding chefs from the North East helped a charity gain a few pounds after serving up a fine dining experience for more than 100 guests.

Students from Middlesbrough, Darlington and Newcastle Colleges shared a kitchen with some of the region’s biggest names in food – including Terry Laybourne, Kenny Atkinson, Jonathan Harrison and Frances Atkins.

They gave more than 120 diners a taste of their culinary capabilities at a special Gisborough Hall event designed to raise funds for the Adopt a School charity – which builds cooking skills and healthy eating knowledge by sending professionals into schools.

Molly Shaher, hospitality and catering lead at Middlesbrough College, led the inter-college event with support from The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

She said: “This is the first time this event has been held in the North East, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for catering and hospitality students to get hands on experience and learn directly from the best in the business.

“Our degree-level events management students from Middlesbrough College coordinated the evening, which included a five-course meal, auction and entertainment.

“The guests experienced a top class level of service and we raised £7,500 for Adopt a School.

“It’s a privilege to be able to bring this prestigious event to the region, and benefit so many young people looking to break into the industry.”

Months of preparation went into the night – with each college practicing and refining their addition to the menu.

Middlesbrough College’s team worked with House of Tides owner Kenny Atkinson to create the main course – braised beef cheek.

Meanwhile Darlington College students were helped by Sandpiper Inn chef patron Jonathan Harrison to deliver the amuse bouche and fish course.

And Newcastle College students sweetened the deal with a dessert created in collaboration with 21 Hospitality Group’s Terry Laybourne.

Nick Shottel, operations director at 21 Hospitality Group, and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, said: “We’re proud to have played a part in this event – which is about building skills in the next generation of catering professionals – and supporting the work of Adopt a School which will leave a legacy in the area.”

Jonathan Harrison added: “This was a fantastic opportunity for young people thinking about careers in the restaurant and hospitality business to get an understanding of what delivering a night like this actually requires.”

The Zetland Hotel located in Middlesbrough’s historic quarter, has utilised funds from Tees Valley Business Compass to bring the hotel up to date.

With the area set to become a hub of activity, with the likes of the Kings Cross direct link, it was essential that the hotel was brought into the 21st century.

This was no easy task to complete, aligning the old with the new, and ensuring the Grade II listed building could be brought up to date to provide all the services the modern commuter expects.

High-speed internet connectivity had not previously been possible without a large outlay, following discussions with Middlesbrough Council and Communicate Technology PLC, the cost burden was lessened by the owners accessing the Tees Valley Business Compass Broadband voucher scheme. The scheme gives claimants access to 33% of funding towards improving business broadband speed to a minimum of 30 mbps.

Communicate PLC, based in Wynyard, provides, installs and maintains IT, Telecoms, Cloud-based services and Cyber Security products and services to businesses across the UK, were commissioned to deliver the specialist work.

“We love getting involved in local projects and helping businesses in the area. It’s so important that businesses have the right internet connectivity to match users’ expectations.

“The Tees Valley Business Compass Broadband Voucher Scheme is brilliant, improving business broadband has never been so easy, it’s a simple process and accessible to so many. There really isn’t an excuse to not provide high-speed internet connectivity,” explains Tony Snaith, Communicate Technology’s CEO.

Co-owner of The Zetland Hotel, Philip Christie said: “It’s been really exciting to renovate The Zetland Hotel, uncovering its architectural hidden gems. However, we knew that despite its historic importance, we needed to bring it bang up to date, and high speed connectivity was key. We engaged Communicate to plan, install and set up the technology into the building and provide Wi-Fi access points.

“We’re very excited for the future. There’s so much new development happening around us, with the Albert North development and the Middlesbrough to King’s Cross direct link. Communicate has ensured that we can satisfy modern expectations from our customers, by giving them the connectivity they need for their meetings.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This news couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re netting world-class, big-ticket events across Tees Valley which will help boost overnight stays, but we’re also shouting to investors, companies and executives that we’re a great place to do business.  It’s fantastic that The Zetland Hotel has recognised that business travellers and visitors alike demand the best in high-speed connectivity and taken the initiative to do something about it.

“Business Compass’s Broadband Voucher scheme is another string to its bow and shows that whatever support our local firms need, they are more than capable of helping. I’d urge any local firms to make the most of this valuable scheme we’ve put together.”

Lisa Gowler, Business Growth Consultant, Tees Valley Business Compass: “It’s fantastic to see what’s happening in this area in Middlesbrough. We’re pleased we’ve been able to support The Zetland to improve their business broadband and we’re looking forward to watching them grow and establish their hotel in the Historic Quarter.”

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor and Executive member for City Centre Strategy, said: “We’ve made great strides in the last few years to establish Middlesbrough as the city heart of the Tees Valley and the Historic Quarter is a key part of this ambition.

“The Zetland is just one of a number of important late 19th century buildings that have a significant part to play in the regeneration of this area.

“The Council has supported Philip and Joanne to realise their vision from the outset ensuring they were connected to the relevant business support agencies and guided by our conservation and planning teams.

“The finished restaurant and brasserie is simply outstanding – we will continue to work with Philip and Joanne to ensure they have a successful future in Middlesbrough.”

Pictured: (L-R) Emily Bentley, Tony Snaith, Philip Christie, Joanne Christie, Lisa Gowler, and Debbie Ingoldsby

The Riverside Stadium has been confirmed as one of the host venues for the Rugby League World Cup 2021, it was announced today.

It will host part of the major international competition for the World Cup in autumn 2021, following a successful bid led by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Around 100 people involved in the bid, along with pupils from local schools and a rugby league team, heard the news at an event at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium as the announcement was broadcast live by the BBC from Manchester.

The bid could give the region an economic boost of up to £8million, attracting tens of thousands of global rugby fans to the area. This winning bid will also work in support of Tees Valley’s application to be named UK City of Culture 2025.

Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough, said: “This is the latest great news for our region’s wider culture and sporting scene, which already has plenty to shout about. We have Take That and Jess Glynne both lined up for concerts and now another world-class sporting event to look forward to.

“We are all incredibly enthusiastic about this chance to show to the world Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley. It fits with our ambitions to be City of Culture 2025, and our plans to host even more top events.  Planned rail services and improving leisure and accommodation will ensure a warm welcome”.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a major coup for the Tees Valley, backed by a fantastic bid that showed why we would be a perfect fit for the Rugby League World Cup. We’re already punching above our weight and this will see our region beamed into the living rooms of sports fans across the world and boost tourist numbers.

“The last time we had a World Cup match in the Tees Valley was 1966, when North Korea beat Italy at Ayresome Park. Now, 55 years later, sports fan will be able to come through the famous Ayresome Gates, this time at the Riverside, once again to watch a World Cup Game.

“It is fantastic news off the back of the Great CityGames coming to Stockton later this year.

“It will also help us to grow the sport here in Tees Valley – which we know from our feedback from the organisers of the World Cup, has played a key part in our successful bid.

“Now our local airport will return to public ownership, I expect many thousands from around the world to travel through Teesside International Airport in 2021.”

The region has previous experience hosting international sporting teams, with the New Zealand All Blacks head coach praising Darlington’s Mowden Park after it hosted the rugby team in 2015.

The successful bid also outlined Tees Valley’s location, exceptional facilities and key venues including the Riverside Stadium and Northern Echo Arena. It also highlighted the region’s commitment to creating a lasting legacy for the game.

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “We’re extremely excited to see the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough host a men’s fixture at the Rugby League World Cup 2021. We’re looking forward to bringing world-class rugby league to the region, the birthplace of Captain James Cook. The Tees Valley partners put together a compelling bid and it will be fantastic to see the community having the opportunity to engage with the tournament over the next 1,000 days.”

The bid was put together by a partnership of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Middlesbrough Football Club, Darlington Mowden Park RFC, MFC Foundation, Middlesbrough Council and Darlington Borough Council.

The news comes less than a week since the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority approved plans to bring Teesside International Airport back into public ownership, saving it from closure in 2021. It is now likely to play a significant role in bringing thousands of international visitors to the region.

A historic 300-year-old Grade 1 listed building has been hailed as the most romantic wedding venue in the north-east after scooping a prestigious national award.

Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough beat off stiff competition to pick up the accolade at The English Wedding Awards.

The awards voted for by the public, recognise and reward those within the wedding industry who aim to make a wedding day perfect.

Michael Jones, Managing Director of Acklam Hall, said “We are thrilled to be given this recognition. Following an extensive restoration three years ago we have quickly developed a strong reputation as a magical wedding venue”.

Acklam Hall is one of the north east’s most notable establishments. Steeped in history, it was originally built by William Hustler between 1680–83 and once opened was visited by King Charles II. It was home to the Hustler family for over 200 years before going on to be Kings Manor School and latterly Middlesbrough College before it closed in 2008

Extensive restoration and renovation of the Hall followed, and it finally opened its doors again as a magnificent wedding venue, restaurant and business space in 2016.

Following the re-opening, the venue is celebrating three years of success and is fast becoming renowned for being the perfect place to host many occasions and events.

Michael added: “Acklam Hall is a truly unique venue that effortlessly blends historical charm and sophistication.

“Being recognised as the north-east’s most romantic wedding venue is an accolade that we are exceptionally proud of, there are many aspects to making a wedding perfect, it requires a whole team approach, and the fact it was voted for by the public makes it extra special”.

With over 300 years of character and charm, Acklam Hall exudes glamour, style and luxury. Its impressive driveway, manicured grounds and view overlooking the historic Avenue of Trees enhance its majestic setting. The restoration retained the many stunning architectural features of this grand home from when it was first built in the late seventeenth century which included the magnificent staircase, ornate and painted ceiling decorations, domed skylight and marble fireplaces.

The venue can cater for those looking for an intimate wedding ceremony of up to 40 guests in The Parlour while the spacious Drawing Room can provide for weddings for up to 120. Acklam Hall is licensed to carry out civil ceremonies, and for those looking for a religious service, St Mary’s Church is ideally located next to the grounds. The Queen’s Room bridal suite is also available and is ideal for pre-wedding preparations and an overnight stay.

Michael added “When people come to Acklam Hall they step into a captivating grand home that is intimate, warm and welcoming.

“We have a variety of wedding packages available, but each one can be amended to suit a bride and groom’s bespoke requirements, ensuring their day is everything they wish for and steeped in romance”.

Acklam Hall will be holding a wedding showcase from 5pm-8pm on Thursday 21st March 2019. For more information visit: www.acklamhall.co.uk or telephone 01642 822000.

Middlesbrough’s Albert North is set to become home to a new all-vegan cafe in the New Year.

Alkaline Kitchen, which is the brainchild of owners Anna Halbert and Luke Dobbing, is the culmination of this enterprising couple’s passion for wholesome plant-based food.

Drawing inspiration from their travels to other vegan cafes around the world they have developed their unique menu which is 100% vegan and also offers oil free, soy free, gluten free and preservative free options.

Inspired by all of the regeneration happening in Middlesbrough, Anna and Luke identified Albert North as the perfect alternative location.

Anna said: “As vegans ourselves, we found that we had to travel further afield to places like Newcastle and York to experience a wider choice of vegan eateries.

“With the increasing popularity of a vegan diet, we identified a gap in the market locally and took the opportunity to create a business that appeals to food conscious individuals.

‘Whether customers are vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or merely being more health conscious, our menu will offer a wide range of items and we are firm believers in full transparency when it comes to ingredients, as it allows us and our customers to identify the nutritional values of our meals and our strapline “keep it kind” underpins all of this.”

The menu will include lighter meals such as a salad bar (including falafel, chickpeas, spinach and kale), soups and sandwiches, to traditional favourites such as pizza, quiche, bean burger and curries. An array of sweet treats such as cookie dough, cakes, cheesecakes and raw snack balls will also be available alongside a variety of juices and smoothies. The cafe’s interior will reflect the owners’ desire to create a city vibe.

With plans to open six days a week, including later opening hours on a Friday & Saturday, the cafe has already recruited a part-time member of staff and are exploring the potential of hiring an apprentice early next year.

“When we visited Albert North we were inspired by the vision Jomast and Middlesbrough Council have for this part of town.

“We especially liked the eclectic buildings but the fact it’s a key thoroughfare between the railway station, town centre and Teesside University as well as its proximity to Middlesbrough College and the Boho Zone was a massive tick in the box” added Luke.

Albert North is home to some of Middlesbrough’s most iconic buildings. Work is ongoing with many of the spaces being renovated to expose the industrial heritage of Teesside. With elegant exteriors and spacious interiors, it offers highly desirable office space to suit any business wanting a central location. Additional units suitable for food and beverage operators are also available.

“We’re delighted to welcome this innovative new cafe to Albert North, we aim to bring together a variety of businesses that complement each other into one exciting business community, and Alkaline Kitchen will be a perfect addition” said Mark Hill, Commercial Property Director at Jomast.

Anna added, “This is our second attempt at obtaining commercial premises, and this time Jomast have made it so much easier, they’ve been extremely helpful throughout the process and have always been on hand to assist and answer any questions we have.”

Businesses relocating to Albert North are able to take advantage of an incentive scheme which includes perks such as high-speed broadband, rent and rate incentives, free public health initiatives for all staff and a town centre loyalty card with exclusive discounts. Anyone interested in leasing units should contact Jomast directly on 01642 666 936 or visit the Albert North website for more details.

One of the region’s flagship music and entertainment venues has a lip-smacking opportunity for a creative entrepreneur.

Middlesbrough’s historic Town Hall is looking for an operator to take over the café in the newly refurbished building.

It’s a chance to serve up tasty treats at the very heart of the cultural scene in the Tees Valley.

Town Hall bosses are hoping to hear from newcomers as well as established operators.

Middlesbrough Town Hall Manager Lorna Fulton said: “The Town Hall is a fantastic venue, and the recent refurbishment has given it a new lease of life.

“We have a whole new programme under way, and we need a café operator who can deliver something to complement and enhance such a vibrant offer.

“We’re open to pitches and proposals from across the spectrum, from independent to artisan, newcomers to established names, fine dining to the delights of street food.

“The key criterion is that the new operator delivers a fantastic food offer in keeping with one of the region’s best destinations.”

  • The closing date for tenders Wednesday, December 19.

For more information, visit https://www.middlesbroughtownhall.co.uk/take-part/cafe/ call Keren Pearson on 01642 729657 or email keren_pearson@middlesbrough.gov.uk

The Smeltery, on Centre Square, an independent restaurant created by Luke Harding and partner Emma Trotter has just been awarded Best Restaurant in The North East at The Food Awards England.

The down-to-earth restauranteurs were invited to bring some heart and soul as well as their creativity to the Middlesbrough Art gallery in 2016, and quickly made an impact.

The popular community cafe and slow food restaurant beat some tough competition from around the region to be judged Best Restaurant, for its delicious freshly made homely food – and wonderful ambiance.

Emma and Luke, who attended the grand award ceremony in Manchester said “This is a fantastic achievement and a fitting tribute to the incredible hard work and dedication that has been invested in the cafe by our amazing talented team, who have worked with such care and passion, to bring beautiful fresh food and an incredible warm welcome to the centre of Middlesbrough.”

Luke added, “Emma and her team have brought a real warmth to the art gallery, by being so attentive to our customers and creating such a friendly welcome. Everybody at The Smeltery really cares about everything we do. The cafe creates a constant social buzz, with a hive of activity in our open theatre kitchen, which hopefully spreads out to the rest of the building.”

“I’d like to pay special tribute to Emma for accomplishing this award, as she’s does a fantastic job, working incredibly long hours and organising every day, whilst making sure that everybody else – all of our customers and our team are happy and enjoying being in the restaurant. We’ve been really lucky with our team, several of who have previously worked at The Waiting Room, in that they have an incredible passion and commitment for what they do, with special thanks to Sophie C, Sophie P, Ricky, Amy, Leah, Angus, Issy, Oscar and Sarah.

The Smeltery specialises in freshly prepared dishes – made in their open theatre kitchen, with lots of beautifully cooked vegetables and wholefoods as well as local fish and free range and organic meat from farms such as Piercebridge and Loosebirds in Harome. “We sought out the finest ingredients including an amazing sourdough from Rise Bakehouse, organic milk and butter from Acorn Dairy, as well as featuring fantastic Waiting Room casseroles, with fresh baking every morning.”

Luke, who owns The celebrated Waiting Room vegetarian restaurant in Eaglescliffe, – itself a previous winner of the Vegetarian Society’s “Best Restaurant in The UK” Award explains; “We were approached by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in 2015 to see if we might create an independent restaurant at the gallery, to attract visitors whilst responding to the gallery’s new direction as a centre for Useful Art. The Smeltery was actually conceived as an art project, where art and life meet… but ultimately it is about serving up exceptionally tasty, really good, social food.”

Luke, who is also an artist, designed the restaurant and theatre kitchen – whilst organising a run of community maker workshops where people could get involved in making the restaurant’s furniture – and even The Smeltery neon sign that lights up Centre Square.

The Smeltery serves up wonderful breakfasts from 8.30am – from a delicious baked eggs shakshuka to free range bacon, incredible fresh salads and small bistro plates at lunch time, and an amazing Organic Sunday Lunch; attracting rave reviews.

The invitation to create a high quality restaurant was also intended to bring life to that part of the town at night, as Centre Square develops into an important new hub, with the newly revamped Town Hall, and Holiday Inn opposite and 5 office blocks being built around the square, leading to a revitalised evening economy.

Middlesbrough’s consumer sector is one of the best performing in the UK according to an influential new report.

The strong showing puts the city heart of the Tees Valley ahead of nearby cities, and above other cities up and down the UK.

The 2018 UK Consumer Powerhouse report – produced by solicitors Irwin Mitchell in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) – highlights the consumer sector as a key driver for economic growth.

And in a series of measures comparing the fortunes of more than 40 cities, Middlesbrough’s vibrant and diverse city centre economy stands out as one of the UK’s star performers.

In the face of digital and technological change, changing consumer behaviour, uncertainty over Brexit and the impact of new regulation, Middlesbrough is consistently near the top of a series of tables gauging the health of a key sector covering retail, leisure, tourism and food and drink.

In her foreword, CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn points to the overall resilience of the consumer sector – worth £400 billion in 2017 –  with GVA (gross value added) growth of 1.5% and employment growth of 1% across the 44 cities under the spotlight.

By comparison Middlesbrough’s consumer sector GVA growth rate of 3% was the second-highest recorded in the UK in Q4 2017, with the town placed only marginally behind best performer Bristol.

Middlesbrough also recorded strong employment growth of 2.6% within the sector, with the report also predicting a rise to 2.9% by the fourth quarter of 2018.

The town’s consumer sector GVA growth rate in Q4 2018 is also forecast to be one of the strongest in the UK at 2.7%.

Victoria Brackett, CEO of Irwin Mitchell’s Business Legal Services, said: “Our latest report paints a rosy picture for the consumer sector within Middlesbrough, with its current fortunes and short-term prospects looking very positive.

“While there could be various factors around this performance, it is worth noting that throughout 2017, footfall data has showed that the city experienced growth in numbers of shoppers despite the national trend being negative.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “This enormously encouraging report confirms and underlines what we already know about our city centre.

“We clearly laid out our ambition for city-scale investment and development in our Investment Prospectus and that strategy is already bearing fruit.

“These figures are the clearest indication possible that our vision is delivering tangible, sustainable results.

“This hasn’t happened overnight but is the result of years of hard work, ambitious forward thinking and innovative partnerships.

“We continue to work with the commercial and retail sectors to re-balance and strengthen our city centre economy, and developments like those at Centre Square and the Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park will add yet more employment and footfall.

“This is an exciting time in Middlesbrough’s history, and there is a great deal more to come.”