The bus station has moved from the smokey and dingy location it was in. The college in the town centre has improved on the shop that was there. Better cinema instead of having to go to Boldon for a choice of more than 2 films.
St. Peter's Campus
Park Lane Bus Station
Echo 24 building
Actually having a cinema
Museum and Winter Gardens regeneration
Mowbray Park modernisation
Transformation of the Old Cinema into "The Point" (Can you imagine what this looked like on the town back then)
National Glass Centre
Sunderland Aquatic Centre
Beacon of Light
Empire Theatre redevelopment and hosting of west end shows
Given people complain about Sunderland now, can you imagine what it must have been like then? I didn't grasp that as a child obviously, but still...
I think Binns and then, finally Joplings, shutting had a very detrimental effect on Sunderland as a town centre. This is common with many towns and cities up and down the country. Fawcett Street used to be impressive and Holmside was smart with smart shops. Both are now tatty at best. This was before 1999. In the past 5 years there have been positive improvements but Sunderland hasn't recovered from the shutting of the 2 Binns shops.