‘Mind-blowing’ response to Spark York… and this video shows why

In a still from the video you can see the new Spark:York hub as a bright contrast to the city's historic fabric. Photographs: Spark York / YouTube
9 Jan 2017 @ 7.06 pm
| Business, Environment

Only weeks after they made their bold plan public, the team behind Spark York have been inundated with people wanting to move in.


Reynards garage site, Piccadilly

First tenants could move in April 2017

Register interest here

Follow Spark:York on Twitter and Facebook

Spark, the innovative enterprise hub made out of shipping containers, is due to be up and running by May 2017.

The modular space aims to be a hub of business, food and drink, entertainment and social activities.

And everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the action.

When you see the video they’ve made below, you’ll understand why.

‘Hey, I could do this!’

“The response has been phenomenal; far exceeding our expectations,” said Joe Gardham, one of the three-strong team behind the north of England’s first ‘box park’.

There will be 25 units created from re-fashioned shipping containers, plus the shared workspace and studio. And they’ve already had more than 200 expressions of interest.

Joe said:

It’s so exciting that there’s this undercurrent of innovation in York, which is hidden away. It feels like Spark:York is awakening this local demand and giving people the confidence to say ‘hey, I could do this!’.

So far they have had inquiries from “chefs and baristas, bakers and artists, IT companies and letting agents, charities, barbers and beauticians, activities for young people, activities for older people, toys and games.

“There’s been some really off-the-wall ideas submitted. It’s seriously mind-blowing the diversity of applications thus far.”

More the merrier

How Piccadilly could look come May

Spark York was given the green light by the council last month. It will transform the former Reynards garage site into a buzzing hub housing shops, street food and community activities.

It will become a performance space at night featuring music festivals and more.

And, Joe says, “we will be running a huge range of daytime activities at Spark”. These could include tea dances for older residents, activities with stay-at-home parents, history workshops and training to help people into work.

The number of applications shows “there’s so much demand and desire for affordable city centre space, and the project more widely,” said Joe.

You’ve still time to get on board. If you’d like to be involved, register here.

We’re a York project for York people, and the more local residents come forward the better. We’ve had loads of offers of support, both voluntary and pro bono from the local community.

We’re going to close to applications at the end of January, at which point we have the mammoth task of sifting through them all and making some tough decisions.

What happens next

Food and drink is an important part of the vision

Spark York has already got its shipping containers sorted. They have been donated by a local logistics company.

They are still in use but will be brought to the city when needed.

So what happens next?

Applications close at the end of January

Spark York team begin process of choosing first tenants

Launch crowd-funding appeal so people can buy into and support the project

First consultation events in January, where people can meet the team, ask questions and feed into the plans

In February there’ll be meetings for prospective tenants to network, see the plans, find out more about costs etc

As Joe says:

The end product will be an amazing, and diverse array of local talent providing unparrelled experiences for York residents.