We were as unhappy as you with the grim death of Cains, but we’re looking forward to the site’s possible new incarnation as a latter-day bazaar, deep in the Baltic (well, on the edge of it, truth be told).
The yet-to-be-approved scheme, Baltic Yards has its feet in the city, but its heart in similar re-imaginings such as Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal and Seattle’s vibrant farmers’ market-cum-artisan motherload, Pike Place.
Baltic Yards Limited has been in talks with owners of the Cains Brewery site since its troubled demise to create a new edge-of-town retail destination, with the best of local producers mingling with out-of-town retailers.
“From the outset we have seen this project as the logical next step in the evolution of the Baltic area,” says Director Mo Maghazachi. “We need attractions and activity that will help the area to develop. The idea of an independent retail bazaar on a real city scale is the obvious solution. There is already a wealth of creativity and independent enterprise in the area. It’s perfect for a venture like this.”
We’ll be watching with interest – especially as there’s already an application going through planning for a Sunday market in Pall Mall, by developers Nextdom – but our hunch is that this could be a Very Good Thing for this end of the city, bordering Parliament Street and the Dingle, and a further expansion of the city centre’s leisure and entertainment offer. Yes, a big, brooding Victorian brewery would still be a thing of beauty, and a wonderful addition to the city, but looks like time has well and truly been called on that one.
“The key is diversity and variety,” Maghazachi says, “The charm and genius of these places is surprise. They are the antidote to the homogenous brands and identikit stores that now dominate our High Streets and shopping malls.”
Baltic Yards is being planned as a Sunday only retail experience – a chance to, finally, replace the buzz and bustle of the old Heritage market. But, whatever you do, don’t call this a market, ok? We know how that story would end…
Planning permission has been applied for to turn more than 50,000 sq ft of its warehouse space into an under-one-roof attraction. Meanwhile, SevenStreets is hearing rumours that the city doesn’t have the appetite for another Geraud-run Christmas market. Now that would be something worth celebrating. Watch this space…