Tombola, which proudly refers to itself as “Britain’s biggest bingo site”, is bucking the trend for mid-pandemic business downsizing by planning to open brand-new offices within Sunderland’s Bonded Warehouse.
Tombola already has other offices in the same area, but it now wants to expand into the historic warehouse which had been operating as a popular music and events venue until July 2020.
The city’s planning authority gave Tombola the green light for its proposals to use the Bonded Warehouse as additional offices while two of the company’s nearby sites undergo renovation work. And, if the Bonded Warehouse offices open as planned, Tombola will be able to recruit 30 new staff from the local area.
As far as Sunderland City Council are concerned, it’s a win-win situation as the Bonded Warehouse is a Grade II-listed building, and its planning department believes that Tombola’s proposal should help to “ensure the continued use of the heritage asset which may assist in its ongoing maintenance and upkeep.”
Sunderland’s Bonded Warehouse is situated just outside the city centre on Low Street and it originally used to serve the port. In more recent years, it has operated as a restaurant and bar, and even had a stint as the University of Sunderland’s student bar.
In early 2018, a £250,000 investment allowed the building to open as an important events space which hosted everything from weddings and concerts to live comedy and private parties.
However, after having to close for several months during national lockdown, the venue’s management came to the decision to permanently close its doors while it was still in a position to fully reimburse all of its private reservations.
Tombola opened its original North East headquarters in Wylam Wharf at a cost of £7m back in January 2019. The site is used by more than 500 employees and features a 3-storey atrium, as well as a gym and a bistro.