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SMG Europe set to operate UK’s most exciting new events destination

26th June 2019

Categories: Convention Bureau latest news

Today (26 June), renowned venue management group SMG Europe has officially been announced as the operator for a new arena, conference and exhibition centre in NewcastleGateshead. 

The site for the new £260m waterfront complex on Gateshead Quays is being hailed as one, if not the most, truly exciting events settings in the UK. Located directly opposite the Gateshead Millennium Bridge on the banks of the River Tyne and at the heart of Newcastle Gateshead Quayside, the scheme will nestle in between Sage Gateshead and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art whilst being minutes from Newcastle City Centre.

The scheme, developed by Ask Real Estate and PATRIZIA UK, includes 6,300m2 of conference and exhibition space together with additional 2,800 m2 of flexible meeting space. Extensive public realm links all buildings including a 12,500-capacity indoor arena, hotels and restaurants.

John Sharkey, Executive Vice President of SMG Europe said: “We’re delighted to be working with Gateshead Council on this exciting scheme, to move our established business across to such an iconic, central location. The North East has always been an important region for SMG and we look forward to building upon the ongoing success of the Utilita Arena and Whitley Bay Playhouse, to further develop the events landscape and strengthen the North East economy.

“Our events calendar continues to be incredibly strong in Newcastle and we’ve recently welcomed fantastic new partnerships with Utilita, LNER and Metro Radio, among others. This ongoing commitment and investment, allied to the vision and ambition from Gateshead Council and AskPatrizia, demonstrates a very clear bellwether for the regional economy, and the attractiveness of the events sector in NewcastleGateshead.  We look forward to working with a range of National and regional partners, to bring more entertainment, conferencing and exhibitions to Gateshead Quays and cement its reputation as a world-class leisure and cultural destination.”

Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council said: “This is an exciting step forward for Gateshead and North East England. Working with SMG is a game changer for the project and for this landmark site. It will build on our existing iconic developments on Gateshead Quays creating a truly world-class cultural, events, entertainment and business destination. This development is a catalyst for regional growth within the retail, hotel and leisure sectors.”

Paul Szomoru, Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming SMG, with their national and international expertise, to be the operators of this significant investment to create the UK’s newest arena, conference and exhibition centre on Gateshead Quays; this is an urban core development, in a vibrant location on the banks of the River Tyne which brings an iconic and very special backdrop for any event, exhibition or conference.

Adding to our already outstanding business events offer of venues and hotels, our accessible location this is realising our long-held ambitions to be able to host major national and international events which align to the business and research strengths of our region and the UK government’s industrial strategy.” 

Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Business Events at VisitBritain, said: “The new business events development on Gateshead Quays will enhance the strength of the UK’s already thriving business events sector and it is great to see such an investment happening in the North East of England. The team at VisitBritain look forward to working with SMG and NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau to raise awareness of this new venue development, further encouraging international planners to bring their events to the UK.”

Planning for the scheme will be announced this autumn with a completion date expected 2023.

Illustrative conceptual images courtesy of HOK.

Gateshead Quays industry briefing at The Meetings Show, 26 June 2019:

Interview with Paul Szomoru at The Meetings Show, 26 June 2019:

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