The Sunderland Hub

A new model for public estates?


DragonGate were appointed in February 2016 to undertake the programme management for the Sunderland Public Service Hub (SPSH). The project forms a critical early component of the City centre’s regeneration and of the newly formed Siglion Joint Venture between the Council, Carillion and Igloo Development.

The below points illustrate the general business case for the Hub:

  • Occupier Savings – 25% – 33% space reduction on average with modernisation of space
  • Initial occupier demand analysis indicated 1.4 million square feet with 11% addressable. 
  • Service Delivery – More effective across Skills, Training & Employment, Health & Social Care & Criminal Justice
  • Ease of Access – For the citizen for training, benefits and social care

DragonGate managed initial engagement with partners and managed, through workstreams, a project that fulfilled property and technology ambitions.

The overriding benefits for the Council to be the “strategic partners” for the SPSH delivery have both financial and non-financial value. The Council will be set to gain additional income streams through rent, service charge and rates with new organisations taking space within the Hub on the agreed flexible lease arrangements which will help fund the development. This is to say nothing of the wider picture of economic value to the economy through driving employment and customer footfall into the city centre.

Beyond property income gains the bigger prize for the council is for efficiency in public service delivery through collaborative, joined-up approach between the Local Authority and a range of public sector organisations who they are able to work closer together with in a bespoke environment, designed to maximise efficiency and partnership. Already skills and employment service providers have identified digital transformation as the most significant opportunity the hub can enable- if developed at the pre-occupation stage with the local authority around skills, employment and housing the hub programme could become a national beacon for exceptionally managed co-designed delivery. Furthermore the jointly delivered hub will provide better interventions for getting individuals back into employment, education and training through the integrated approach.