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 in 2023.
Today, June 23 its first tenant has been revealed as new restaurant Zinc which will offer seasonal food, sourced locally wherever possible.
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The restaurant’s name is inspired by the black, zinc-clad building and will be large enough for 50 guests.
The new Stableyards venue will play host to music and performances on a large outdoor stage as well pop- up events, markets, bars and restuarants and will be connected to the city centre by the new Wear footbridge between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site.
Zinc, which will be led by the team behind Newcastle’s Route, hopes to offer visitors a chefs table for a special dining experience and taster menus.
Former master chef finalist John Calton said: “The concept at our restaurant Route is modern British, tapas with a bit of a twist. We always cook a lot of fish and shellfish, game when it’s in season and lots of different vegan and vegetarian options.
"The idea is to take that concept and bring it to the Sheepfolds but take it to the next level with things like chefs table and taser menus, set against a fantastic backdrop of the river and glass front on a first floor restaurant – what can be better than eating fish and oyster at a location like this.”
Plans for the Sheepfolds development include eight shop-fronted units, which are expected to attract more cafe, restaurant and retail operators, as well as two open courtyards, providing attractive outdoor spaces for events and entertainment.
John said: “I just really want to get stuck into it now, it’s a year away so it’s gives us time to plan it and after speaking to architect Rick who has a fantastic vision for the whole concept. We’re going to come here and really try to give it our all and create something special in Sunderland.”
Zinc is expected to create 12 new full-time jobs when it opens, and is looking to employ local people and build relationships with the city’s training providers, including Sunderland College, to nurture new talent both in the kitchen and front of house.
John said: “We hope this will not only create opportunities for Sunderland people to enjoy a fantastic dining experience, but for local talent to be developed too, and we’re excited to form new relationships to enable that.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Sheepfolds is such an exciting concept-venue and one we had great confidence would attract high calibre occupiers, so it’s brilliant to see proven restauranteurs like John and Kimberley, who have enjoyed much success to date, choosing Sunderland for their next venture."