The doors of a transformed heritage building in Sunderland swung open today, to provide a sneak peek ahead of its official opening on December 1st.
The team from Blacks Corner have been working on the stunning regeneration of the Grade II listed Seaburn Tram Shelter – one of three historic buildings being revamped as part of a £850,000 investment from Sunderland City Council and The Coastal Communities Fund.
Due to open on December 1st, the venue has been beautifully reimagined, providing new use to a structure that was last used as originally intended in the 1950s, when trams became defunct in the city.
The structure – which had fallen into a state of disrepair – has been sensitively restored, with original timber frames to the fish-scale roof, cast iron columns and decorations all still intact, albeit with new life having been breathed into them and reclaimed materials being used in the renovation wherever possible, adding warmth and charm, whilst respecting the original character of the building.
Renovation started earlier this year and an extensive programme of work has been carried out to transform the structure using as much of the original internal panelling as possible to create a new footprint. The result is stunning, with opulent chandelier lighting, reclaimed 200 year-old terracotta floor, hand baked tiles, log burner, comfortable high-end furnishings and beautiful décor designed to make the space relaxing and welcoming.
The seaside landmark – the lease of which was handled by Sunderland based commercial property surveyors, Lofthouse and Partners – will see Blacks Corner open a third location, building on the success of its distinctive East Boldon flagship restaurant and its sister delicatessen.
Jonathan Dryden, co-founder of Blacks Corner, said: “This is a unique space and we were absolutely determined, when we took this on, that we would deliver a venue of outstanding quality. We very much see ourselves as custodians, and maintaining the integrity of a structure that has such history has been central to this restoration.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the results and we hope that – when we open on December 1 – the local community can see that we have repaid their trust and re-provided them with a space that they can enjoy.”
The venue – like Blacks Corner’s other outlets – will champion local and home-grown British and farm produce through its menu of cheese, wine and charcuterie, with added seafood small plates exclusive to The Tram Shelter. The venue will create 25 new jobs when it officially opens in time for the festive season.
The project is part of a wider programme of transformation at Seaburn and Roker, with the council having spent more than £12 million on improvements over recent years. The programme includes award-winning environmental and street-scene enhancements helping attract developments such as Seaburn Stack, the Seaburn Inn and a host of new businesses to Marine Walk.
Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member of Sunderland City Council, said: “The quality of this venue is incredible. The Tram Shelter was a stunning structure, but the care, respect, attention and imagination that has gone into creating this beautiful new hospitality venue is clear to see.
“What a beautiful addition to Sunderland’s seaside offer.”
To stay up to date with new developments in Sunderland, as well as the city’s events programme, visit www.mysunderland.co.uk