Whitley Bay is set to get a new late night venue as the Empress Ballroom is to be restored to its former glory with £3m works set to get underway.

The ballroom, formally a bingo hall, is set to host a cocktail bar, two floors of office space, entrance atrium, cafe and restaurant space and a late night “cabaret” venue.

The development, next door to the recently refurbished Spanish City, was given the green light in March 2021 but had been held up by the impact of Covid-19 and uninsured roof damage caused by Storm Arwen late last year. 

The site has sat derelict for a number of years with the developer hoping that as well as bringing new life to the building, it will offer Whitley Bay more space for community engagement.

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Local property developer Mark Holmes, 59, said: “When we get going, I would love to get to the stage where we are doing community projects and charity balls. We want to get local buy-in and do some good stuff for the town. 

“This is a passion I want to do now, because I am at the end of my business life. This is the last big thing I am doing.”

Whitley Bay councillor John O’Shea said: “I am very pleased that the redevelopment is to start next month. The building has stood empty for several years and is a blot on the landscape.

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“The iconic Empress Ballroom will bring back many fond memories to local residents who regularly attended the ballroom back in its heyday. The development will be another fantastic addition to offer for local people and visitors to the town. 

“When the redevelopment is completed it will be a premier entertainment venue in the North East.”

The first phase of the redevelopment is set to begin next week, with work due to be completed by June 2023.


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