How £2million vision to transform derelict Sunderland stables into stunning food and leisure venue could look

A derelict Sunderland building is set to become a stunning new events and leisure venue in £2million plans unveiled today.

By Kevin Clark
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 5:19 pm

The Grade II-listed former stables surround a large yard to the southern-west corner of Sheepfolds industrial estate, close to the Stadium of Light.

City developer Building Design Northern (BDN) has agreed a deal that will see the building - previously owned by Edward Thompsons - open its doors in 2023.

Playing host to music and performance on a large outdoor stage as well pop- up events, markets and daytime activity, the venue will be connected to the city centre by the new Wear footbridge between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site, which are both being regenerated as part of the city council’s Riverside Sunderland project.

BDN is just days from completing its restoration of the former Grade II Listed Simpson Street School in Deptford, which the company has made its new HQ, and managing director Richard Marsden is delighted to be leading a second major development in the city.

“We’re proud to be a Sunderland business and to be playing a part in the transformation of a city that has such a bright future,” he said.

“The change we are seeing at Riverside Sunderland is undeniable - as is the level of ambition and confidence of businesses like ours and others investing here, as well as the council, to deliver fantastic developments that bring more people into the city.

“We can’t wait to share more as plans take shape and the building transforms.”

(clockwise from left) City council leader Coun Graeme Miller (left) with MDN managing director Richard Marsden; how the building looks now and an artist's impression of how it will look

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BDN bought the Old Simpson Street School in 2019 and is about to take the eight apartments it has created in the building to market for rent.

Plans for Sheepfolds, which have been submitted to the city council for approval, include eight shop-fronted units, which are expected to attract cafe, restaurant and retail operators, as well as two open courtyards, providing attractive outdoor spaces for events and entertainment.

They will look to run a range of events, markets and concerts in the venue, which will draw visitors from the city and beyond.

How the courtyard will look

City council leader Counr Graeme Miller, said therre were some ‘hugely exciting’ projects in the pipeline for Riverside Sunderland that would help to create ‘a brilliant place to live, work and play in the heart of the city’.

“Sheepfolds is an area with vast potential, and creating a destination venue that will not only appeal to people on matchdays, but will form a key attraction both by day and by night is something that will kick off the reinvention of the whole area,” he said.

"We’re thrilled to see these plans being brought forward by a Sunderland business that wants to invest in and improve the city.”

The plans should go before the city council’s planning committee during the first half of this year, with work starting shortly afterwards, subject to approval.

An artist's impression of the interior

Businesses interested in finding out about the retail and commercial spaces within the building should contact Rochelle Richardson at BDN, at [email protected] or by calling 535 6189.

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