Whitley Bay’s iconic Spanish City is set to re-open to the public next week.
Construction and restoration work is now complete as the Grade II listed building, built in 1910, has been restored to its former glory.
North Tyneside Council has invested more than £4m in its sympathetic restoration project and secured grants of £3.47m from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and more than £2m from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Construction company Robertson led the renovation works on site, with architects ADP using historical images and drawings as reference where original details had been lost.
The famous dome’s original features have been reinstated on the promenade elevation, including the first floor loggia terraces. The new extensions provide additional facilities and support areas.
Finishing touches are being made to Empress Gardens with footpaths being created to make the area more accessible, new street furniture installed and the beauty spot boasts new garden spaces with planters, grass and flowerbeds.
Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “When I became Mayor one of the first commitments I made was to not give up on the dome.
“It’s been a long time coming but I am absolutely delighted that it has finally been restored to its former glory and we can now start a new chapter in the rich history of this truly iconic building.
“Robertson and ADP have done a fantastic job in ensuring a sympathetic restoration that stays true to its history while looking firmly to the future and have delivered a high-class venue.
“We wish the operator Kymel well – this is something unique that we can all be proud of and the heart is well and truly back in Whitley Bay.”
The loggia terraces have been enclosed with glass so that they can be used all year around.
Garry Hope, managing director of Robertson North East, said: “The restoration of such a beautiful and iconic building has been an absolute joy for the team to work on for the last two years.”
“The detail that has been achieved is truly astonishing and I’m sure local residents and visitors to the site will agree.”
Roger FitzGerald, chair of the architects, ADP, said: “This project is an exemplar of how historic, iconic buildings in seaside locations can be revitalised by careful restoration and imaginative extensions, thereby ensuring their future viability and helping to regenerate the whole area.”
Kymel, the new operator of Spanish City, have leisure facilities including family-friendly restaurants, fine dining, tearooms, event spaces and a champagne bar.
Kyle Mackings, CEO of Kymel hospitality group, said: “We’ve been involved in this project for a number of years now and have seen it evolve into something we’re very proud to be part of.
“We’re incredibly excited about the completion of building work and the beginning of our journey with our new team.
“We want to become part of the Whitley Bay community and will be holding lots of exciting public events that we’re looking forward to already. We hope that the venues within Spanish City will provide something different and we can’t wait to welcome everyone.”
Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “This iconic building holds an incredibly special place in the hearts of all of us who live in the North East and beyond.
“So it’s fantastic to see its revival and its return to its place at the heart of Whitley Bay’s life and economy.”
Patrick Melia, North Tyneside Council’s chief executive, said: “This has been a fantastic project which has been successfully delivered thanks to our partnership working – we’ve also had great support from the public throughout.
“It is an exciting time for Whitley Bay, and residents and businesses, and the future looks extremely bright. Spanish City is a fantastic venue which will be enjoyed by all.”
On Saturday and Sunday, 100 lucky people will get to take part in the ‘open for viewing’ celebration weekend ahead of its reopening on Monday.