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Future of four key sites to be explored in joint venture

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A partnership is being launched to find a future for some of Middlesbrough's most domineering yet unused buildings.

Middlesbrough Council and Jomast Developments are set to enter into a collaborative joint venture to explore new opportunities and potential external funding sources.

The first phase of the collaboration will look at four sites - Church House on Bedford Street, Gurney House and Buxton Street Car Park by Wilson Street and the A66, the former Barclays Bank Building on Albert Road and land at Bridge Street East near Middlesbrough College.

Middlesbrough Council's Executive will be asked to approve the partnership approach at a meeting on Tuesday, May 11.

The report makes clear that the joint venture would not be a financial relationship and includes no undertaking for the council to commit direct investment.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "It's fantastic that there's a credible plan to bring about redevelopment of these important sites and buildings and help drive the economic generation of the town.

"Investment interest in Middlesbrough is sky high and I'm really pleased that Jomast are continuing to commit money to our great town."

Stuart Monk, Managing Director of Jomast said "We are very pleased to be entering into this collaboration agreement and working with Middlesbrough Council to provide a constructive framework that will aid the redevelopment of these sites."

The Executive are also being asked to note the recent progress made by Jomast in successfully regenerating Albert Road into Albert North leading to some 50,000 sqft of commercial space being occupied. Jomast, in conjunction with Middlesbrough Council, were also instrumental in the regeneration of the Bedford/Baker Street area of the town into a vibrant leisure quarter which is now home to the famous Orange Pip Market.

The report states: "Historical collaborative working with the organisation has proved to rapidly progress mutual regeneration objectives for both parties.

"The properties in scope of this agreement are of local note and are symbolic to the local population.

"Bringing these properties back into use will provide a significant injection into the urban market for commercial space and residential opportunities, aiding the recovery of our local economy and building on the momentum of recent commercial and residential priorities.

"Private sector input is key to support the future aspirations of Middlesbrough. Church House and Gurney House are of particular local interest and have been vacant for many years.

"They are prominent properties on Middlesbrough's skyline and are in dire need of investment, activity and animation. Bringing such property back into use will aid the economic ambitions for the area and provide a major boost in raising perceptions in the area.

"The proposed relationship represents no financial commitment or obligations and, as such, is of minimal risk to the Council; whilst the strategic benefits could be extensive."

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