Plans for expansion by one of Sunderland’s largest employers were today welcomed by city MP Julie Elliott.
The construction of a new £6million HQ for gaming giant Tombola at Wylam Wharf is due to start next month – a move which will create 80 new software development roles.
Ms Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, visited the site this week and said: “I am very impressed with Tombola’s expansion plans, and am delighted they will mean new jobs.
"Tombola is Europe's biggest online bingo company and could locate anywhere in Britain. However, its roots are firmly in Sunderland and the firm remains committed to the city.”
Sunderland construction company Brims is to start work on the new three-storey HQ – based next to the original Rose Line Building warehouse offices – in February.
Completion is expected early next year.
The futuristic HQ has been designed by Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture, with the intention of creating a riverside campus which blends both old and new buildings.
Once complete, the new complex - a contemporary twist on a bonded warehouse design - will enable Tombola to increase its workforce in Sunderland to almost 400 people.
“I am hugely impressed by the ambitions of Tombola. I am also delighted that a company of its size and reputation continues to be based in the city where they started,” said Ms Elliott.
"There’s no doubt Tombola’s expansion will add to the city’s growing reputation as home to innovative and ambitious tech companies.
“It is a home-grown, family-run company succeeding in a competitive industry and continuing to re-invest in its roots. It is a company that Sunderland can be proud of.”
Tombola was founded in 2000 by chief executive Phil Cronin, who previously worked for his family’s printing business Edward Thompson – a well-respected Wearside firm since Victorian times.
The company’s main website, tombola.co.uk, is now the largest bingo site in the UK, and it also produces original bingo software and games – all created by in-house developers.
Tombola director Mike Cronin said the company was delighted to have hosted Ms Elliott’s visit and added: “Julie was interested in both our new building and our expansion plans.
“We have a 20:20 strategy to double our turnover and our workforce over the next five years, and we’re on course to achieve this ambition.
“The influx of new software developers that we’ll be able to recruit is important to the development of the company. We’ll be looking for a balance of experienced developers and graduates.”
* The firm's current offices, based in the old Rose Line Building at Wylam Wharf, date to the late 18th century. They will continue to be used after the new HQ is opened.