The north-east is set to welcome a new initiative in the fresh food market, which will act as a one-stop hub for fresh produce growers, traders, and customers in the region.
The new facility will supersede the existing North East Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market on Team Valley, which has been in existence for 51 years but has suffered from a lack of investment. The new market will operate as a wholesale provider to fruit and vegetable retailers, restaurants, hospitals, caterers, schools, universities and more.
Spearheaded by entrepreneur, John Holland (pictured), chief executive of J R Holland Group, and currently undergoing a £3m investment programme, the facility is due to open its doors in early 2021 in a prime location in the Team Valley business estate.
The multimillion-pound investment is expected to generate and secure 60 jobs and develop the former MAN lorry depot into covered fresh produce hub of over 25,000 sq. ft in size, occupying the centre of a two-acre site.
Simon Haggie of Knight Frank acquired the property on behalf of John Holland and the building works will be project-managed by Ian Tew, also of Knight Frank.
An estimated 100,000 packages of produce are expected to be sold through the facility every week, with all produce sourced on an exclusive basis direct from suppliers in the north east with exotics from around the globe. A key ambition behind the initiative is to invest in and form long-term, robust relationships with producers and farmers, ensuring provenance, traceability and value.
Holland said, "My dream is to create a one stop, fresh produce hub of the future. I want to bring the fresh produce community together under one roof where they can be inspired, where they can network and do business together. The fresh produce hub will be a tidy, clean and inspirational one stop marketplace that will shorten supply chains, reduce food miles and ultimately drive forward our industry into a new era of growth.
"The specialist knowledge and customer and supplier relationships we have developed through 40 years in the sector are fundamental to the core of our business, and I want to build upon this to create a new go-to place for everybody's fresh produce needs."
Tew added: "We are really excited to get to work on extending the property to create temperature-controlled zones, an improved area for deliveries and a covered customer collection point."
The development will feature product-specific, multi-temperature controlled zones to facilitate the daily deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a sit-in coffee bar.