Publication: Chester The Leader
01 May 2012
"Multi-million pound vision for empty shops - City's New Dining District."
'This is how Chester's new dining district could look. The vision was revealed as part of plans to create a multi-million pound restaurant area in the city centre.
Private equity giant The Carlyle Group and Bride Hall, one of the UK's leading property development companies, is behind the scheme to create a major dining experience in the heart of Chester, featuring four new restauarants.
The plans, from the owners of Grosvenor Shopping Centre, will position Pepper Street as Chester's prime dining hub. The proposals - submitted to planners this week - have been inspired by strong demand from fast-growing restaurant operators, including some leading UK brands.
The large former Habitat and Multiyork buildings on Pepper Street will be redeveloped to create four new units on two levels. The outlets, two of which will include seating for alfresco dining, will range from 3,900 to 4,900 square feet.
The development is expected to create jobs and work could start later this year. "Despite the challenging economic circumstances, eating out remains the UK's most popular leisure activity", said Bride Hall director Roger Gorham. "These forward-looking plans have been designed to meet the growth in demand for choice and quality," he added. "The outcome will be a cluster of quality food offers that will inject even more new life in the city centre and benefit the wider Chester economy."
With Picolino's, Blackhouse Grill and Zizzi across the road from the proposed development site, the developers are hoping that this area of the city centre will become the pre-eminent dining destination that will in turn enhance Chester's evening economy.
The announcement comes just weeks after the opening of Tesco Express on Pepper Street. Meanwhile plans to create a department store at the back of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre are still progressing. It is understood that Bournemouth based high-end homeware chain Beales no longer intends to go ahead with its plans for a 3,260 square metre unit store at Paddock Row.
Grosvenor bosses, however, are in discussions with a number of retailers about the future development of the shopping centre.'