See how work is progressing inside STACK Seaburn ahead of opening next weekend

What was once an empty leisure centre site is set to be a buzzing multi-purpose entertainment hub for the city as STACK Seaburn takes shape ahead of opening this month.

By Katy Wheeler
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 1:22 pm

Final construction work and decoration is taking place at the shipping container village on the old Seaburn Centre site as it gears up for an August 28 opening – and the Echo went along to see how the £3million development is looking.

While the original Newcastle city centre STACK has a black theme, the Seaburn site has a distinctive turquoise blue hue to complement its coastal location. As the build enters its final few days, signage is now being installed at more than 20 shipping containers, which will house a host of food and drink traders, as well as lifestyle brands.

Also in place is the central plaza, where outdoor seating, complete with heaters and fire pits, will face giant screens, once live sports resumes, and a stage for free live entertainment.

STACK Seaburn taking shape ahead of opening on August 28

This week, we revealed all the food and drink traders who’ve taken units including Downey’s, Yolo, Chapo’s Taco’s and more. Meanwhile, the lifestyle units include Woofs ‘n’ Scruffs who’ve installed dog washing facilities for people who can clean their pets after a run on the beach.

Above the main entrance overlooking the coast is a bridal suite which will house a terrace, hot tub and outdoor shower, which will eventually be available exclusively for weddings booked for phase 2 of STACK. All floors can also be accessed via a new lift, making it accessible for all.

Phase 1, which opens on August 28, is already larger than the Newcastle version and will eventually adjoin Phase 2, when work begins on the second section next year. The latter, to the rear of Phase 1, will take the total of shipping containers to more than 80 and will host a multitude of facilities, from karaoke bars, shuffle boarding and gaming containers to a function, conference and wedding space.

A trend popularised in places such as East London, shipping containers are a cost effective and generally more environmentally-friendly way of creating new spaces. All the STACK containers have been used before and, after being bought from Cleveland Containers, have been strengthened for their new purpose.

The main entrance to STACK on the Coast Road, with Yolo coffee shop and Downey's fish and chips either side

STACK is being brought to the city by Danieli Holdings, who have a seven-and-a-half-year lease on the site, and it’s a particularly special development for CEO Neill Winch whose family live nearby in Dykelands Road.

Neill, who’s worked all over the world, said: “As a child, I would spend my six weeks’ holidays here and we would go to the beach every, single day. I would walk past this very site and now I feel proud to be giving something back to Sunderland and this fabulous coastline.

"I’m a big SAFC supporter and it’s great to be back here, bringing something Sunderland hasn’t had before. STACK has a mix of everything and it’s worked really well at the first one in Newcastle. And if Newcastle can have something, there’s no reason Sunderland can’t.”

Due to the outdoor seating and large space, STACK lends itself well to social distancing, which will be in place from opening.

The distinctive blue hue is set to be a landmark on the seafront.

You will need to pre-book a table, with no charge, ahead of visiting and will be given a two-hour time slot. Other Covid-secure measures include a one-way system, table service and Covid marshals.

Phase 1 of STACK has created more than 100 jobs for the city, with next year’s Phase 2 to create even more as part of the wider Seafront Regeneration Scheme.

Work is also forging ahead next door – on the former Pullman Lodge site – on the Seaburn Inn, a 40-bed pub with rooms which is being brought to the city by The Inn Collection Group, who also own Seaton Lane Inn near Seaham, as well as a string of successful sites in Northumberland.

Behind the two phases of STACK, work has also started on a former overspill car park which is being turned into housing by Avant Homes.

Yolo coffee kitchen taking shape ahead of opening day

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David Potts-Brown, owner of Woofs 'n' Scruffs, as their unit is fitted out.
The central plaza will house outdoor seating with heaters and fire pits
Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Holdings
Downey's traditional fish and chips are one of the food and drink traders on site
Signage and screens being installed ahead of opening on August 28
There will be 5 bars in total
This unit will house a bridal suite, which can only be booked when booking a wedding in Phase 2 of STACK. The terrace will have a hot tub overlooking the coast.