Shoppers stroll along covered walkways, families stop for a bite to eat in a modern courtyard, workers meet for a chat before heading to their offices…
You would never guess all this was happening in old shipping containers.
These artist’s impressions show how the vision for the Spark:York has evolved in just a few weeks.
We first revealed the plans for a ‘box park’ housing shops, street food traders and community projects inside former shipping containers last November.
Since then the the York directors have been meeting, talking, listening and amending their plans for the development on the old Reynards garage site in Piccadilly.
These have now been submitted for approval to City of York Council – you can read them in detail here.
Originally the team had expected the first tenants to move in this April. But a new timetable would see the three-year project will open this summer, and close by 30th June 2020.
Garden and performance space
The plans show around 20 shipping containers, repurposed as a venue for retail, restaurant, office and performance space.
It also include a co-working space with enough room for 20 socially-minded enterprises, a community herb garden, and a free meeting space for local groups.
Spark:York director Sam Leach said the plans reflect the feedback they’ve received from a six-month consultation with residents and businesses.
“Ideas have adapted and matured, reflecting the opinions of local people who are seeking to regenerate a tired part of our city,” he said.
“We have listened, and feel these are exciting and professional plans that will greatly enhance the area.”
Close to 300 individuals and local businesses have expressed an interest in moving in to Spark:York.
That shows an “unmet need for affordable space in York,” says another director Tom McKenzie. He said:
We hope to change that.
Helping young and old
Spark:York is a community interest company, meaning it will re-invest profits into “activities that benefit York residents”.
There will be a focus on social inclusivity said director Joe Gardham.
The project is looking to run
- programmes to tackle loneliness among older people
- daily low-intensity fitness sessions, and
- a space for parents to meet and access services
Give something back
The idea has also won support from the Lord Mayor of York and Green councillor Dave Taylor.
He said: “I am keen to see a positive use of the site which will give something back to the people of York.
“The plans put forward to the council by Spark:York appear to do just that, with substantial benefits for the community, and a real chance for young businesses to grow and blossom in the city centre.”