Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 12.41.40A major milestone has been reached in the development of the £200m Stephenson Quarter in the heart of Newcastle.

Phase 1 of this 10-acre development near Newcastle Central Station – comprising Crowne Plaza Newcastle hotel, The Rocket offices and Stephenson Quarter Car Park – has reached practical completion.

This important milestone represents the completion of all physical construction by the main contractor Galliford Try on the main components of the first phase. Operational completion will be achieved within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, bookings are already being taken for bedrooms and conferences in the hotel and parking permits are being sold in the nearby multi-storey car park.

Developer Clouston Group instructed contractors to start work on the 251-bed hotel, car park and offices in April 2013 and at its peak the project employed over 200 people. During construction around 20 apprentices were able to gain practical experience working on a large-scale development.

Michelle Percy, director at Clouston Group, said: “Reaching this milestone has been a real team effort, borne of many stakeholders. Without Newcastle City Council and visionary political support, along with NewcastleGateshead Initiative we would never have got onto site.

“The next steps are marketing the Rocket office scheme and starting planning and work on Stephenson House.”

Tony Hordon, senior director at international property agent, DTZ said: “The confirmation of PC is a huge achievement for the developer Clouston Group. Not only because of the complexity of the delivery of three different uses under one contract, namely office, hotel and car park, but perhaps more importantly, this was a scheme which was borne out of recession.

“Stephenson Quarter represents the perfect example of the private and public sector working together, in the deepest of all recessions, and the result of this collaboration is now for us all to see – and enjoy.”

The impressive seven-storey hotel on Hawthorn Square, Forth Street has been built with 20,000 tonnes of concrete, 185 copper panels and 7,000 metres of timber panelling. On entering the hotel, visitors will be wowed by a magnificent glass atrium constructed of 114 panes of glass. Standing at over 25m high, it provides panoramic views of the city from all levels of the hotel.

Andrew Fox, general manager at Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter, said: “The operational team and I have been working behind the scenes on site for over six months and have witnessed the amazing transformation from a building site to a luxury hotel.

“With the main construction work complete, it’s all hands on deck as we prepare to welcome our first guests in late summer 2015. We’ve started the mammoth task of completing the plush interior, including moving in 1500 chairs, 900 comfy cushions, 529 mirrors, 300 pieces of art, 41 birch tree trunks and 14 copper tables. It’s all coming together nicely and I can’t wait to open for public and have people come and enjoy it.”