Work has begun on the new Barker and Stonehouse store in Stockton this week, with the demolition of the former Springs Health Club at the entrance to Teesside Retail Park.

The family-owned furniture retailer is investing £4.5 million to create a state-of-the-art store which will also house its head office.

Archial Norr Architects designed the store in close consultation with James Barker and Dennis McLuckie of McLuckie Projects. The trio worked together on the design of the Barker and Stonehouse Knaresborough store which opened in early 2013, and is the only retail building in the town with an environmental BREAM rating of “very good.”

Project Manager Dennis McLuckie said: “The new store will provide a flagship building on this gateway site of the retail park. It will really enhance the visual quality of the existing retail environment, while also sitting sympathetically within the natural landscape.”

McLuckie Projects is overseeing the build and working with a team of specialist contractors and engineers on-site, including Bucklers of Middlesbrough who is handling the demolition.

The Teesside development will feature an in-store café, two floors of retail space spread over 4,827sqm and a large car park for nearly 100 cars.

Site manager Dennis McLuckie adds: “It’s great to be on-site and able to get started with the project. We’re hoping to begin the construction phase in early July and to be weather-tight by Christmas.”

The store is planned to open for early 2015 and will bring long-term benefits for the economy of Teesside, as well as a shopping experience with a ‘wow’ factor for customers.

Barker and Stonehouse is one of Teesside’s flagship home-grown businesses, bringing national recognition in the style and quality stakes to the area.

The firm was founded in Stockton in 1946. It has grown significantly since then and now has showcase stores in London and across the country which have drawn awards and praise from national media and architectural bodies.

James Barker, Managing Director of Barker and Stonehouse, said: “This is going to be a spectacular store and will be a great asset to the Teesside Retail Park and wider Teesside area.”