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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Ambitious plans to transform town
Middlehaven plans
Sugar cube-shaped office buildings will overlook the river
Ambitious plans to develop a redundant area of Teesside into a landscape featuring apartments, hotels, a theatre and restaurants have been revealed.

Urban regeneration company Tees Valley Regeneration unveiled the 500m plans for Middlesbrough's Middlehaven area on Tuesday.

They include a hotel in the shape of a champagne bottle and a Space Invader-inspired Museum of Digital Media.

It is hoped the scheme will raise the town's profile and attract investment.

Middlehaven is the bedrock on which the future of our town will depend
Ray Mallon, Middlesbrough Mayor
The development, which is backed by public and private sector investment, will include a hotel shaped like the game Kerplunk, a toaster-shaped theatre and restaurants built on piers.

Tees Valley Regeneration chief executive Joe Docherty said: "The image of the region to outsiders is not good - often our own self image is not good.

"But through bold, exciting and confident architecture, we can really begin to change - and even exceed - peoples' aspirations.

"Look at Newcastle and Gateshead. A few years ago, the quayside was incredibly run down. Today, with the Millennium Bridge, Baltic and the Sage music centre, it's attracting visitors from all over the world."

Middlehaven plans
The plans will transform the redundant riverside area
The plans have been drawn up by Alsop Architects.

The company head Will Alsop OBE said: "When we arrived in the Tees Valley, we knew very little about the region except that it had provided the inspiration for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner film.

"What we found was a brave, beautiful landscape inhabited by a series of massive objects. The development itself is the size of 250 football pitches."

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon said the plans will help attract developers and entrepreneurs.

He said: "Middlehaven is the bedrock on which the future of our town will depend. The scale of our ambition sends an important message out to entrepreneurs and developers that Middlesbrough is open for business."

Regional development agency One NorthEast and national regeneration agency English Partnerships are also involved in the plans.

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