An online supermarket is set to create up to 300 jobs in Sunderland after being unveiled as the first occupier to take space at VAUX.
Ocado has signed a 15-year deal to let the top two floors of The Beam, a flagship 59,427 sq ft building at the heart of the city centre.
Staff will be recruited by the end of the year as the company works to set up its new site, which will operate as an additional hub alongside its Hatfield facility.
The move is considered to be a “huge display of confidence” in Sunderland, with senior representatives from Ocado having visited a host of potential sites across the UK before narrowing down their search.
The decision was cemented after they were “bowled over by the fantastic amenities” available at The Beam.
Sunderland City Council has supported Ocado since it first visited the city in the summer of last year and has worked with the company to ensure the required infrastructure is in place.
The Beam is part of a £500m city centre vision, with the wider investment total standing at more than £1.5bn to 2030.
Ian Pattle, general manager of customer service and strategy at Ocado, said: “We’re pleased to be coming to Sunderland as we grow our market leading customer service proposition. The new contact centre will support our existing service and we look forward to welcoming new talent from the local area to our team.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, believes the announcement is “hugely significant”.
“Ocado’s decision to invest in The Beam is absolutely fantastic news not only for Sunderland but for the entire North East region,” he added. “The company is one of the most innovative and progressive in the world when it comes to ecommerce and for Sunderland to be chosen as the base of its newest office is a sign of just how attractive a proposition our city has become over the past few years.
“It’s been a long time coming but this is the start of the Vaux site springing back to life.”
Ocado was founded in 2000 and was listed on the stock exchange ten years later. It is a FTSE 100 business with sales of £1.6bn and employs more 15,000 people.
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