A DERELICT warehouse has been transformed into a vibrant 'wonderland' with street food, beer and cocktail bars, a souk-style market, art studios and family entertainment.

After two months of hard graft, The Malthouse, in The Crescent, is ready to open to the public at 5pm on Friday, November 8.

Joe Gardham, who is behind the venture, has invited developers and ward councillors to a private tour to showcase what could be done with disused properties.

"We have not taken any money from City of York Council. With a little bit of money, trust and creativity you can create an amazing space," he said, hoping other developers will see the potential of neglected buildings, and put them to better use.

Joe, of York-based Social Vision, said he had spent three years trying to persuade developers to work with him before North Star asked him to bring a community element to their work.

"It is exciting. They said they wanted to see if I could go with them on a longer-term journey."

The warehouse was previously used as a temporary space for a van hire company.

Investing £5,000 of his own money, with North Star taking care of the infrastructure work, Joe assembled a team of experts in food, art, joinery and building work to help.

"I went into a derelict empty building, and we have created a wonderland. We had 50 volunteers from Good Gym who scrubbed it one night. The creatives have been given artistic licence. We have exploded paint and creativity all over the place. We have bunting and fairy lights; it is weird and wonderful and exciting with loads of energy."

Using recycled, upcycled and donated furniture, the ground floor will offer food and drink including Ainsty Ales, a cocktail bar by The Art of Protest Gallery; Justin Horseman, of Tykes Gin Bar, from Copmanthorpe; and street food vendors such as Yorkshire Wagyu, Spanish-Indian fusion tapas, Origin cafe and Ministry of Juice smoothies.

Upstairs is the creative space.

There will be a Saturday Souk market where local craftspeople can sell their wares, while six artists have taken up residence in new studios.

"The artists are permanent residents. Each time we come back there will be something new to see. It is a canvas for artists to do what they want," said Joe.

Sundays, dubbed the Big Chill, will be alcohol free with family entertainment on offer, such as puppet shows and workshops.

"I spent time in care before being adopted,” said Joe. "I wanted to make sure this site is accessible. Cups of tea will be absolutely free. If you are a single parent, or a family in extreme poverty, there will be fresh fruit, water and cordial, cups of tea, entertainment, workshops, puppet shows, magicians wondering around. "

He said they also aimed to keep food at affordable prices.

"We want 80 per cent of dishes to be £5 or under. I wanted to make sure the majority of food on site is under £5. A lot of people are priced out of street food."

The Malthouse will be open for 10 weekends up to and including New Year's Eve.

It will open to the public from 9am on Fridays to 5pm on Sundays. If deemed a success, it will stay open until March.

"Once we have done that and the building goes back to the developers, we will move on to a new building," said Joe. "We have another one planned with North Star."

The project is a collaboration of people, as part of Space Invaders, owned by Social Vision.