A SIGNIFICANT milestone has been reached in a city centre development with the completion of the demolition of the former HM Passport Office buildings.

Undertaken by specialist contractor Thompsons of Prudhoe, the demolition of the 300,000sq ft 1960s buildings in Milburngate, Durham City, paves the way for construction of the 450,000sq ft mixed-use development which, upon completion in 2020, will become home to residential, office, retail and leisure space. About 70,000-tonnes of material have been processed on the 5.5 acre site, the majority of which is being recycled, including the concrete structure that has been crushed for use as a base for foundations and to raise areas of the site.

Following the removal of the buildings, which also previously housed National Savings and Investments’ offices, remediation and enabling works will lead to the first stage of construction of Milburngate, which is being developed by Arlington Real Estate and the Richardson family.

Beginning in spring, this phase will deliver a significant part of the development’s retail and leisure offering, which will be home to an Everyman cinema, Pitcher and Piano, 92-bed Premier Inn and the new concept steak restaurant brand Bar + Block.

Allan Cook, Managing Director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “The demolition phase has not been without its challenges, but by closely collaborating with our demolition contractors, Thompsons of Prudoe, we have achieved the first significant milestone in the delivery of this project.”

Having successfully completed the complex demolition state we are now in a position to begin delivery of phase two of our Durham Riverside Renewal project, creating a destination of regional significance and a landmark development for the city. “

Ben Holmes, Director at Richardsons, said: “Demolishing such a large structure that is flanked by a river and existing buildings and homes in an environmentally considerate way was a challenge, but one that we have delivered successfully.

"Embarking on the next phase of the project is an exciting prospect as it will bring a new premium leisure, living and working location to Durham City, which will further enhance the city’s offering to local people and visitors to the area.”