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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Graeme Whitfield

Legal & General's Sir Nigel Wilson praises Sunderland regeneration scheme

One of the country’s most prominent business leaders has hailed a North East regeneration project as he attended the scheme’s ‘topping out’ ceremony.

Sir Nigel Wilson, chief executive of investment and pensions group Legal & General, joined civic and business leaders in Sunderland for the event at the Maker and Faber buildings on the Riverside Sunderland development.

The buildings – which are part of Legal & General’s £100m investment in the Sunderland scheme – will provide 150,000 sq ft of Grade A space for professional services firms. Steel frames for the buildings have been erected, and they are set to open next year.

Read more: Chamber urges investment into North East

Sir Nigel, who grew up in County Durham, joined Sir Andrew McAlpine, partner at construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine, Landid managing director James Silver and Sunderland Council chief executive Patrick Melia for the event.

He said: “I grew up in this part of the world so it’s thrilling to come back and see how much progress has been made. What we see happening here is inclusive capitalism, where we’re trying to level up right across the country, invest in real projects and create real assets that support real jobs and real wages.

“This is one of a number of examples that we have across the country. But what we need in these situations is not the man from Whitehall or from London, we need local people to get behind these projects and political leaders with vision.

“We’re very fortunate that we’ve got Patrick here, whose one of the great leaders who’s committed to making things happen.

“The sad reality was that this site stood vacant for almost 30 years and if you went to Newcastle, you’d have seen the same thing with the Scottish and Newcastle brewery site. We’re in a process of modernising cities across the UK and that’s devolution with a little ‘d’.

“We need devolution with a big ‘D’ so that local people are empowered to really make a difference with access to capital.”

The Maker building behind Sunderland’s City Hall will have six storeys and 80,000 sq ft of office space, while Faber will be five-storeys high. 400 staff from RSA will move into the Faber building next year.

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller added: “Topping out is a key moment in the development of any new building, but the sense of tradition and occasion today made this extra special.

“These are game-changing developments for Sunderland, and – as these two buildings top out – we move that step closer to realising the impact they will have, not only through the physical change they bring, but through the confidence they will give to our city centre traders who will reap the benefit of thousands more people on the doorstep by day and evening.”


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