Spark:York hasn’t yet paid any profits to the council

Spark:York reopened this summer. Photograph: YorkMix

Spark:York has not yet paid any profits back to City of York Council – but it has made all of its rent payments.

Under an agreement with the council the venue must pay a basic rent – covering the installation of utilities and services when the project was launched – and a share of its profits back to the authority.

But a council meeting heard there was no profit to be shared from the venue’s first year in operation.

Cllr Martin Rowley asked council officers: “What income have we received from the Spark site to date?”

Andy Kerr from the council said profits are forecast but have not been recieved yet. He said: “It is not necessarily a financial-led project, in that we’re expecting big significant returns.

“It was actually more a regeneration based one and one where using that area of the city would actually have a positive impact up on our land assets.”

Sell-off plan

Photograph: YorkMix

Spark:York’s lease has been renewed and it will stay for another two years.

But the site, which is owned by the council, is part of the Castle Gateway regeneration project.

Work is being carried out on designs for a future use for the site, which could be sold off to a private developer.

Mr Kerr said: “The two options really are we could sell the site and get in the region of about £1 million if we sold it to a private developer, or we could look to act as developer for that site ourselves.

“That will give us more in the region of £2 million profit.

“We’re currently in that process of understanding what the actual deliverability of the site will be and what the best way of doing it is.

“But it could be a site that we sell – it might not be something we want to take on now in the current financial position the council’s in.

“It doesn’t have the same strategic importance or public benefits as Castle Mills.”