Boxing Clever: Spark Ignites Park

25th November 2016

A proposal has been approved to create a street food and start-up business hub on the derelict Reynards garage site on Piccadilly in York City Centre. Spark:York is the vision of three local social entrepreneurs, who aim to share their experiences of travel, food, socialising and working to create the ultimate, inclusive space in the heart of York.

Spark Director Tom McKenzie says: “Spark:York will offer the perfect space to meet friends, eat, drink and socialise in a communal space in the heart of the City. Spark will strengthen York’s early evening offer, by providing somewhere for the after-work crowd through the week, or for people looking to relax on a weekend. We’ve visited similar places across Europe and are really excited to bring this experience to York.”


Spark:York will consist of 15 upcycled shipping containers, arranged over two levels, and designed by award-winning architect Carl Turner, who featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, and has previously created similar schemes in London. This will be the first scheme of its kind in the North of England.

The Reynards garage site is part of the Council’s wider Southern Gateway project, and Spark:York offers an opportunity to bring vitality and vision to a neglected area of the City, with huge potential.

Included within Spark:York will be a number of independent, local businesses and entrepreneurs, including:

– Street food kiosks – unique street food not found elsewhere in the City – Beverage kiosks – serving unique alcohol and non-alcohol based drinks, tapping into the early evening, European-style way of drinking and socialising – Retail – selling unique products from small, independent retailers – Shared workspace – a Hub for socially-minded local start-ups, charities and entrepreneurs, providing hands-on support to help ideas flourish – Meeting / teaching space – a quiet, private space for meetings or classroom-type events – Stage and performance area – providing a platform for performing arts and a regular programme of events and activities for York residents – Public workspace – free wi-fi and desk space accessible to people passing by or needing a couple of hours’ space in the City Centre.

Spark:York Director Joe Gardham said: “York is full of talented and visionary people. We are creating an affordable and inclusive space in the middle of town that will create opportunities for local people to realise their ambition. Whether it’s a local chef with a unique culinary idea, a budding retailer who can’t afford a space in town, or a volunteer who wants to take their charitable ideas to the next level; we aim to be the Spark that starts their journey.”


Spark:York are currently inviting expressions of interest from local people to be involved in the project, and are specifically looking for people who want to set up their own business but don’t know where to start; have a small business run from their home office and want to develop it further; are socially-minded and want to work with similar organisations; or have a great idea and want an affordable city centre space to test it out.

Spark:York Director Sam Leach concludes: “Our vision is to offer York residents sounds, smells, tastes and sights that they haven’t experienced in York before; whilst supporting good causes and improving lives across the city. We have seen how these schemes have transformed spaces across Europe, and we are creating the first of its kind in Northern England.”

Spark:York aims to open in Spring 2017, and you can register an interest via, email [email protected] or follow Spark:York on Twitter and Facebook.

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