Building Design Northern

Tony Cullen
Fund Manager

"It is wonderful to bring such a beautiful old building back into use and to restore it for the benefit of future generations."

Rick Marsden, Director, Building Design Northern

Building Design Northern Ltd secured a loan of £930,000 from the North East Property Fund to complete the conversion of the former Simpson Street School in Sunderland into a self-contained office premises and eight apartments.

The historic school had become derelict and was targeted by vandals and severely damaged by fire in 2020. But thanks to the FW Capital investment, BDN Ltd converted the school into offices housing its own headquarters, as well as developing eight loft-style apartments. BDN retained many of the school’s original features, including the bell tower. A stonemason restored most of the old signage and brickwork.

A second, multi-million pound, round of funding from the NEPF was provided to BDN allowing them to take on the renovation of Sunderland’s Sheepfolds Stables. The hotly-anticipated development is nearing completion, with all buildings now watertight and work underway on the internal fit out. 

BDN acquired the Sheepfolds premises in March 2022 and announced ambitious plans to transform the Grade II listed stables into a stunning new leisure and events destination with a focus on absolute excellence seeing the dilapidated building repaired brick by brick to bring it back to its former glory

The Stables development in Sunderland will create an exciting new entertainment destination. It will play host to music and performance on a large outdoor stage and include a large open-air yard where a range of pop-up events, markets and daytime activity will take place. 

The exciting new venue will be connected to the city centre by the new Wear footbridge that will provide a pedestrian and cyclist crossing between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site, both of which are being spectacularly reimagined as part of Sunderland City Council’s Riverside Sunderland plan. 

Confirmed tenants include The Calabash Tree, Southpaw Dance Company, Vito’s Osteria, Speyside Distillery, I Scream for Pizza, and Ember. In all, more than 80 new jobs will be created at Sheepfolds Stables.