Oh, we do like to eat byside the seaside
A successful team of food and drink entrepreneurs are preparing to make a splash with a feast from the deep.
Sunderland City Council has now selected Ben Wall and his team as the tenant for the Bay Shelter on Seaburn's Lower Promenade.
The team plan to open a high-end seafood restaurant, appealing to Sunderland residents and attracting customers from across the region.
The new restaurant will form a part of the council's ongoing investment drive along Roker and Seaburn seafronts, and across the wider city. The council has spent more than £10m on seafront regeneration and improvements over recent years, with award-winning environmental and street-scene enhancements. These have helped attract developments such as at Seaburn Stack, the Seaburn Inn and brought new businesses to Marine Walk.
A further programme of improvements to the environment in and around Seaburn is also now being prepared.
The lease for the shelter was advertised over summer 2020 through commercial property surveyors Lofthouse and Partners and interest was strong with more than 30 people registering and submitting proposals.
Mr Wall and Neil Bassett, who have overseen Sunderland's Mexico 70, Holmeside Coffee and The Ship Isis, are now finalising their plans to open a 'high end' seafood restaurant - possibly to be named The Shelter.
Subject to further fitting out works and permissions, a summer 2021 launch is planned.
Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: "On behalf of the hundreds and thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy our seafront, I'd like to welcome this business and its new offer.
"We all know what a great coastline we have in Sunderland and we - the council – continue to invest in both the look and feel of it, from Marine Walk to Seaburn Promenade. All this work by the council and its partners attracts further investments and continues to evolve, improve and provide more reasons to visit, stay at and enjoy our seafront. And, of course, enjoy it all year round.
"I'd like to thank everyone that expressed an interest in the properties and it's a testament to the popularity and potential of our seafront that there was such strong interest. Thank you to all."
Income generated from the lease will help support the Sunderland Seafront Trust. The trust operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours and lease income will help it deliver seafront events and activities.
Mr Wall said: "We are looking to a high-end seafood restaurant with a menu using the freshest local ingredients.
"The Shelter is in a beautiful location and a unique opportunity for any Sunderland restaurateur, and in such we recognise the responsibility that any operator has in trading there. That responsibility is to provide a destination for tourists and residents alike, to draw in customers not just from the immediate area but from Northumberland to North Yorkshire.
"We want to make it a destination. It gives us an opportunity to showcase the amazing and beautiful coastline that we have here, alongside current and future development of the seafront.
"Our vision is to create an all-day seafront restaurant, showcasing contemporary dining in a stunning but unstuffy and unpretentious relaxed environment."
The Seaburn Tram Shelter is now also being advertised as a business opportunity. Further details on seafront developments will be announced by the City Council in the New Year.
Councillor Kevin Johnston, the City Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, added: "This seafront activity with new businesses and developments, and the council's landscaping and street scene improvements, are all very much part of our City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland."
More details on the tram shelter opportunity are here https://lofthouseandpartners.co.uk/news/operator-sought-for-grade-ii-listed-seafront-tram-shelter/