The work will see the Grade II listed building become home to a collection of independent restaurants and a food hall with various food retail outlets.
It has also been reported in local press that there are plans to open an 86-bedroom boutique hotel inside the Corn Exchange alongside the independent restaurants, and that Aviva Investors is interested in discussions with potential hotel operators.
Partner at Queensberry Real Estate Stuart Harris said: “The project will completely transform the fortunes of this incredible building and in doing so provide an important catalyst to the further regeneration of this part of the city centre.”
City square feel
The plans for the project have been put together by Queensbury Real Estate and include a complete reworking of the building’s interior to expose the Edwardian architecture while at the same time opening up a large amount of space. The intention is to recreate a busy feel of a European city square indoors, with multiple dining outlets.
The outside of the building has not been left out of the plans. Tables and chairs will be laid out on the surrounding Exchange Square, Cathedral Street and Fennel Street to create outdoor dining space for warm weather.
“Corn Exchange will create a restaurant and café hub that will establish a dining destination unique to Manchester,” said Chris Paterson, head of In Town Retail and Shopping Centres at Aviva Investors, which owns the Manchester property.
“The vision is not to replicate what Manchester already has but to complement and enhance the existing provision and fill the gaps that exist in the foodservice market with a fresh, unique offer. We are excited by the potential of this project.
“Established and successful restaurateurs are equally excited by the proposals with several top London restaurants already expressing an interest in opening their first eateries outside of the capital in the transformed Manchester building, should the proposals go ahead to plan.”
The new restaurant project at the Corn Exchange is just one part of Manchester’s regeneration in terms of its hospitality offering. Last year, the Piccadilly Gardens development brought a number of new hotel and restaurant operators to the city.
Other cities throughout the UK have also been catching onto the trend for large dining and hotel hubs, with BigHospitality reporting on a number of new developments in the past year. London has seen a few of these, including the £90m Bromley hotel and restaurant development, the West End’s Nova development, and most recently Kingly Court.
However, the rest of the country has not been left out, with recent regional projects including Yorkshire’s £120m Flemingate development, Edinburgh’s Quartermile development, and Oyster Wharf in Swansea.