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Our changing town centre

2024 is a big year for Middlesbrough - with a host of leisure developments set to open to continue our plan to get more people living, working, learning and playing in our town centre

Middlesbrough town centre is on the up.

In 2024, 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 has opened in the former TJ Hughes store, with a state-of-the art electric karting track, golf and vintage gaming machines taking over the first floor and bowling, VR gaming and karaoke pods among the attractions packing out the ground floor.

Across the square, a huge new soft play centre and inflatable theme park will open in the former Wilko building. Major North East-based leisure operator the Fun Shack Group is investing £2.5m in the town and creating up to 80 jobs. It is transforming the top floor into one of its signature Fun Shack indoor play centres while the ground floor will be home to Inflate Space, Teesside’s first inflatable play space.

Tarek Thoma, the man behind the The Oven Restaurant on Linthorpe Road, will launch Bazaar early in 2024. With an open kitchen and cuisine inspired by flavours from across the world is getting set to open in another large unit on the square.

US fast food chain Wendy’s is also opening Teesside’s first outlet.

The former shopping centre – bought by Middlesbrough Council in 2020 to rebalance the town centre economy – will also be home to a boutique cinema and more food and drink outlets in 2024.

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.

In Exchange Square in the town’s historic quarter, high-end cabaret cocktail bar and restaurant Bloom has opened 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 new residents are moving into St Hilda’s where our thriving digital sector has been boosted by the news Middlesbrough company Double Eleven are moving into the brand new Boho X building.

More businesses are moving to new premises at Centre Square, with Centre Square 6 welcoming staff from insurance firm Axa, safeguarding hundreds of roles in the town.

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 head of economic growth and infrastructure Sam Gilmore, strategic business manager Debbie Ingoldsby and digital manager Dan Watson. They explain what we’ve done so far – and the exciting things to come.