Street food market to open in Knight and Lee building in Southsea as part of multimillion-pound development

A street food market with DJs and retro arcade machines is coming to a historic Southsea building that is earmarked for a multimillion-pound development.
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The team behind The Merchant House in Highland Road is planning to open the market in the Knight and Lee building in Palmerston Road in spring next year.

The building had housed a John Lewis store until it closed last July, with developers That Group set to turn it into a 43-bed hotel, cinema, coffee bar, shops and offices.

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The currently untitled market will have space for four to five vendors on the ground floor of the building, as well as featuring DJs, retro arcade machines, and a pop-up space for exhibitions and trial business ideas.

Knight and Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman.Knight and Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman.
Knight and Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman.

Vendors are yet to be confirmed, but the market could become a permanent fixture if it proves popular, according to Andy Marsh, co-owner of the Merchant House and co-founder of Victorious Festival.

Andy said: ‘We did a few projects with That Group in Bournemouth in a few shared workspaces, including a few beer festivals.

‘If the street food market works, they would look to keep it – we have a lot of flexibility.

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‘We are confident that it will work. A lot of traders we know would love to have this opportunity.’

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The team behind Need Street Food, part of the food offering at the Merchant House, will help advise on the market but will not be providing a stall.

The market will remain open as building work progresses during the coming year, according to Andy.

He added: ‘I think that’s the beauty of it.

‘A lot of street food places are set up in developments while things are happening, that’s the street food ethos – we will be absolutely fine.’

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That Group is working with the team behind the market to ensure it can accommodate changing Covid-19 restrictions and continue to operate once a vaccine allows normal life to resume.

Andy said: ‘It won’t be the whole of the downstairs, but there will be a comfortable amount we can get in.

‘Obviously the vaccine is fantastic news.

‘But we have got to carry on. We are always looking at different projects to develop, and we’re very excited about this one.

‘We are working to make sure it’s safe and sustainable.’

Last year saw street food market Outside-In open in a former warehouse in central Portsmouth.

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