Steve Robinson, managing director, JT Dove handing the keys to Michelle Percy, director, Silverlink Holdings at Orchard Street.

Dove finally flies the city

Published:  22 June, 2009

NEWCASTLE: JT Dove has officially handed over the keys to the landmark Orchard Street site in Newcastle to developers Silverlink Holdings.

The company, which celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, has finally closed the doors on its original builders merchant trading centre as part of its business plan that has seen three new flagship outlets opening across the region.

The three new multi million pound outlets, in Newburn, Birtley and Stockton, pave the direction that JT Dove managing director Steve Robinson is guiding the builders' merchant in, in a bid to deliver to the customer competitively priced goods at easy to access outlets. It brings the number of outlets across the region now up to fifteen.

Silverlink Holdings acquired the freehold of the site in 2004 and created a detailed masterplan and development programme to regenerate the historical area into a new vibrant working, living and cultural corner of the city.   The surrender of the lease from JT Dove at this stage will enable the developer to carry out important archaeological work in the listed buildings which Dove occupied.

The 10-acre site, which is adjacent to Newcastle Central Station, is home to the shed that Robert Stephenson built the world famous Rocket in, and cultural elements of the area will focus on the heritage whilst providing residential apartments, an art gallery, commercial opportunities, two hotels, retail and restaurants.

Mr Robinson said: "While this site is part of JT Dove's history and heritage it was no longer filling the right purpose to enable us to be the competitive and vibrant business we wish to be going forward. We had two choices, invest in this site, which is getting harder to access as the city looks as vehicle access and parking, or to surrender our leasehold interest to a responsible developer who will make sure that whilst the culture is preserved, it will be sensitively developed to improve our city.

"Through the surrender of our lease, and through a favourable financial deal courtesy of HSBC, we have been able to build three purpose built retail outlets, catering for builders, plumbers and landscapers in easy to access areas. I am pleased to say that both new and existing customers are already enjoying the JT Dove service in Newburn, Birtley and Stockton."

Silverlink Holdings expect work to commence on site next year. Michelle Percy, director of Silverlink said: "JT Dove has continued to play a very valuable role in the city over the last 140 years – not just as a significant employer but also providing a valuable service to the region. 

"As custodians of the important listed buildings JT Dove has secured their future.  As developer it is now our responsibility to sensitively create a dynamic area that will reach out and draw people into the different spaces and buildings.  Stephenson Quarter will promote access for all and breathe new life into the area.

"We wish JT Dove well in the new locations and look forward to watching their business prosper from new and purpose built premises."

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