Piece of cake: Pop-ups put vacant sites to use

An architect has encouraged owners of derelict inner-city sites to allow pop-up cafes, food-stalls or mini-markets operate on their land pending development.

Piece of cake: Pop-ups put vacant sites to use

An architect has encouraged owners of derelict inner-city sites to allow pop-up cafes, food-stalls or mini-markets operate on their land pending development.

Karl Diskin was speaking yesterday as the mobile pop-up coffee shop, The Bakery, which is housed in a brightly-coloured converted shipping container opened on his Kyle St site in the centre of Cork City.

Hoarding was removed and the cafe was lifted by crane onto the site earlier this week. Yesterday, customers were enjoying teas, coffees and pastries in a small, landscaped seated area fronting the street which links Cornmarket St to North Main St.

Mr Diskin bought the site at auction last December and hopes to develop apartments in the medium term.

But in the meantime, he wanted to find a way of “activating the site and animating the street” pending its development.

He listed the site on an online forum aimed at pop-ups which led to The Bakery arriving earlier this week.

Two potential operators have expressed an interest in using the site later.

He encouraged the owners of other similar vacant or derelict inner-city sites — which would otherwise be surrounded by unsightly hoarding — to follow suit, describing it as a win-win for everyone.

I am hoping that this first pop-up will be the beginning of a string of similar ones,” he said.

“I would like for other vacant sites in the city that are not actively being developed yet or are in the design or pre-planning stages to engage similar opportunities which can be win-win.

“The landowner can earn a modest amount for lease of the land while the pop-up can gain valuable space on the ‘high street’ at a minimal expense which is perfect for start-ups, or for low-turnover but high-social-value enterprises such as artist or artisan space.”

This Kyle St site is just yards from the historic Coal Quay market area where Cork City Council has admitted its plans for a thriving street market have failed.

Mr Diskin said the use of his site could help demonstrate the area’s potential for a street-food market.

In the short-to-medium term I would love for my space to grow with more pop-ups and gain momentum to become Cork’s answer to EatYard in Dublin — a vibrant market for ready-to-eat street-food which I identify as a missing component of Cork’s daytime lunch offer,” he said.

The Bakery Cafe is part of an initiative between Lidl and youth mental health service, Jigsaw, which provides support for young people aged between 12 and 25.

The structure has already visited Rathmines, Dun Laoghaire and Limerick and is finishing its tour in Cork, closing on Sunday. Money raised from the sale of drinks and pastries will help Jigsaw provide its services.

The ‘cafe’ will host a range of events over the coming evenings, including Yoga Laughter tonight, which proponents say can increase happiness, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and lower stress, and mindfulness tomorrow.

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