STACK to bring 'exciting' street food shipping container village to Leeds Kirkgate market

Fast growing operator STACK has been appointed to run a street food shipping container village at Leeds Kirkgate market.

It will provide a “unique blend of street food, beverage offerings and entertainment” and operate seven a days a week, as well as in the evenings – attracting a new crowd to the 167-year-old market, its council owner hopes.

More than 2.5 million people have flocked to STACK Seaburn – constructed from repurposed shipping containers – since it opened on the North East coast in 2020.

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The company is also building two new venues in Newcastle city centre, one of which will be a fan zone next to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park ground.

CGI image of the new shipping container food village that is coming to Leeds Kirkgate marketCGI image of the new shipping container food village that is coming to Leeds Kirkgate market
CGI image of the new shipping container food village that is coming to Leeds Kirkgate market

STACK also has sites at various stages of development at 10 other sites including Middlesbrough, Whitley Bay, Durham and Sheffield.

STACK will pick up the cost of building the venue and pay rent to the council, creating a new income stream. It still has to get various planning and licensing approvals.

According to the council, around 100 stalls in the outdoor market are vacant on its busiest days. Under the plans announced in late 2022, the number of outdoor pitches will be cut and the freed-up space used for the new village. The council say they expect it to create jobs and new footfall for the other traders and says everybody should be comfortably accommodated in the newly reconfigured area.

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Deputy leader Councillor Jonathan Pryor said it should be an “exciting addition”: “STACK’s track record and proposals make it an ideal fit for a scheme that would complement other major improvements at the market – improvements that recently helped push monthly visitor numbers past 500,000.

“Our ongoing investment in this important and historic retail destination means it is now well placed to play its part in powering the further regeneration of the eastern side of the city centre.

“The council is also committed to continuing to work with the market’s existing traders to ensure they can reap the maximum benefit from the proposed food village.”

Neill Winch, STACK’s chief executive officer, said: “STACK's approach is all about sustainability and synergy with local businesses. We're excited to bring our unique blend of street food, beverage offerings and entertainment to Leeds and to integrate with the historic and bustling market environment. This opportunity not only allows us to contribute to the city's dynamic growth but also to create a space where the community and visitors can enjoy a diverse and engaging experience.”

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Recent improvements at the market include an ongoing £10m project to repair, conserve and enhance the 1875 “blockshops”, the oldest surviving structures on the site. Phase one of this scheme was completed in August last year, with the second and final stage now under way.

The blockshops work followed the creation of the popular Market Kitchen street food hall and event space as part of a £14m refurbishment.

The council has also secured planning permission for a new hotel and gym on the George Street side of the Grade I listed market building.