Multi-million pound visitor attraction announced for Gateshead
Dinosauria Ltd has reached an agreement with Gateshead Council for the long-term lease of Gateshead's Old Town Hall Quarter.
Following the agreement for the company to take on the lease of the 120-year-old buildings, there will be an initial multi-million-pound investment programme to create The Unnatural History Museum™ within the Old Town Hall creating around 90 jobs.
The family-friendly museum will feature a collection of interactive exhibits made up of mythical monsters, legendary beasts and magical artefacts from Greek and Roman mythology, modern and classical fantasy stories, and magical folklore from across the world.
With attractions including, among many others, Wizards, unicorns, trolls, fairies, goblins and, of course, dragons, The Unnatural History Museum will offer a walk-through immersive experience with visitors navigating their way through rooms and corridors filled with animatronic exhibits, virtual reality, audio/visual effects and live actors.
A further two phases will follow to extend the attraction, with the provision for additional leisure and entertainment including a themed restaurant with microbrewery and bar. The developments for the wider site will create more than 200 jobs.
The company is being supported by Newcastle-based wealth management specialists, Tier One Capital, which is assisting in raising finance for the project.
Tony Beddard, Chief Executive of Dinosauria Ltd and its subsidiary The Unnatural History Museum™ Ltd, said: "The Unnatural History Museum will be a unique attraction launching within the UK and the Gateshead site, and offers a continually refreshing experience for fans of all ages who love fantasy, folklore and science fiction.
"Fantasy, fairy stories and mythology are ingrained within our culture, and with epic TV programmes like Game of Thrones and films like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it's simply a genre that will just continue to grow, and be a relevant part of people's lives and imagination."
Tony added: "We are delighted to be working in partnership and collaboration with Gateshead Council to reach this milestone agreement for the project. The council have been incredibly supportive of the project, through a rigorous period of review and due diligence, and sharing in our project vision for a unique entertainment and leisure business within the Gateshead Old Town Hall Quarter."
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: "The Unnatural History Museum will bring new life to central Gateshead, creating new jobs and opportunities for residents whilst boosting the economy both locally and regionally.
Revitalising the historic Old Town Hall by refurbishing it into something unique is exactly what we had in mind when we brought the project to market. We're delighted that the Grade II listed building will get a makeover, whilst maintaining its character, and that adjoining buildings and vacant land will also be redeveloped by the visionary Dinosauria.
"The project will assist in creating a thriving and vibrant tourist attraction ensuring a sound economic future for Gateshead and bringing people up from the Tyne to the town centre. We're excited to see the plans for this impressive site."