Benmore reveals plans for Theatre Royal

Property developer Benmore Group said it is on the verge of securing a lease on the Theatre Royal in Manchester city centre.

If the deal goes through, Belfast-based Benmore said the listed building, built in 1845, would operate as a live music venue.

The building, located on Peter Street between the Midland and Radisson Edwardian hotels, is the oldest surviving theatre in the city.

Until the start of this year, the Theatre Royal had operated as a nightclub under the Coliseum and M2 brands.

The property developer added that it will invest over £2m on restoring the Theatre Royal if the lease is secured.

Benmore also has plans for a 30-storey hotel scheme adjacent to the theatre. Those plans continue to be advanced in parallel with the theatre scheme.

Meanwhile, Benmore has secured a 35 year lease on the former Ritz nightclub in Manchester.

The former Ritz nightclub on Whitworth Street was leased to the Mean Fiddler entertainment group which is now operating the club as a live music venue and nightclub under the HMV Ritz brand.

The Ritz Ballroom was built in the 1920s and started out as an upmarket ballroom, before being converted into a live music venue in the 1950s.

The Mean Fiddler Group has spent over £2m refurbishing the 23,000 sq ft building, including restoring many of its architectural features, extensive soundproofing and the installation of state of the art sound and lighting.

The Mean Fiddler Group owns and operates live music venues and festivals throughout the UK.

David Burrows, chief executive of Benmore Group, said: "It's fantastic for the city that a high calibre operator such as Mean Fiddler has taken over the Ritz, one of the country's most important and historic music venues. The building has had significant investment as a result, helping to preserve it for generations to come.

"We believe we are also close to securing a deal for the Theatre Royal which would see it undergoing a major refurbishment before operating as a live music venue and attracting to the city some of the biggest names in music. We hope to be able to announce that deal soon. If all goes smoothly, the venue could re-open in its new guise as early as summer 2012.

"Our plans for a 30-storey high-end hotel adjacent to the site remain in place and are progressing well considering market conditions. Such ambitious schemes are challenging and complex but we are more than satisfied with the progress being made."

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