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Our changing town centre

2023 is a big year for Middlesbrough - with a host of leisure developments set to open and get more people living, working, learning and playing in our town centre

Middlesbrough town centre is on the up.

In 2023, a host of new leisure developments will transform the town centre into a regional leisure destination and help attract even more visitors.

Family entertainment, gaming and acclaimed new food and drink businesses will all move in this year – with hundreds of new hospitality jobs created.

Due to a national decline in high street retail, Middlesbrough Council has aimed to rebalance the town centre economy to attract more people to live, work, learn and spend their leisure time here.

At Captain Cook Square, Level X will open in the former TJ Hughes store, with a state-of-the art electric karting track and vintage gaming machines taking over the first floor and bowling, VR gaming and golf among the attractions packing out the ground floor.

Behind the scenes photos of the soon-to-open Level X in Middlesbrough

Behind the scenes photos of the soon-to-open Level X in Middlesbrough

A few doors down in the former Peacock’s store will be The Wired Lobby, Middlesbrough’s first e-sports arena bringing competitive gaming and full-size racing car simulators to the town centre.

The former shopping centre – bought by Middlesbrough Council in 2020 to rebalance the town centre economy – will also be home to a boutique cinema, a high-end cocktail bar, and exciting new food and drink concepts in 2023.

Even more exciting announcements are expected soon.

The town centre is already home to thriving bars and restaurants in our independent quarter around Baker and Bedford Street, and on Linthorpe Road.

Late in 2022, high-end cabaret cocktail bar and restaurant Bloom opened at Exchange Square close to Middlesbrough Railway Station, which itself is set to be completely revamped in a £34m project to add a new platform and secure more services.

Exchange Square is also set to welcome renowned The Muddler restaurant into another historic Middlesbrough building, while national operator STACK’s trendy food and drink development is proposed nearby, both subject to planning permission.

Exchange Square

Exchange Square

But the progress doesn’t end with leisure.

New houses are being built in Gresham, and at St Hilda’s where our thriving digital sector has been supported through the Boho X scheme. More and more businesses are moving to new premises at Centre Square, with Centre Square 6 ready to welcome staff in the coming months.

Thousands are already studying in Middlesbrough town centre at Teesside University and the recently opened, £14m Northern School of Art – while we’re set to welcome a brand new secondary school building to Middlehaven, with the potential for Eton College to open a sixth-form nearby.

Hear more below from Middlesbrough Council chief executive Tony Parkinson, head of economic growth and infrastructure Sam Gilmore, and Mayor Andy Preston. They explain what we’ve done so far – and the exciting things to come.