The developer is preparing to resubmit plans for the £3.5m Market 41 so it includes hotel rooms and events space, reconfiguring the scheme to make it fit for the post-Covid world.
“The way in which we conduct our day-to-day working lives and spend our leisure time has been reset for the foreseeable future,” said Chris McGoff, director of McGoff Group.
“[This has] forced a rethink of how Market 41 will function in a post-pandemic world and how best to future-proof the concept against unforeseeable operational risk should further restrictions or lockdowns present themselves,” he added.
Trafford Council granted McGoff Group planning consent for the 13,600 sq ft Railway Road venture in 2018 but a string of delays, including those enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, has prevented work starting on site.
When the Urmston scheme was first proposed in 2017, McGoff said he wanted Market 41 to “exploit the popularity of local markets, as demonstrated by the new Altrincham market”.
The original proposals for the food hall featured plans for 10 to 12 food and drink operators positioned around a 180-cover seating area.
The new concept would see the food hall retained, but it has been re-worked to include modular units to ensure a “clearer distinction between the individual operators”, with the addition of more outdoor space to enable social distancing rules to be easily observed, according to McGoff.
The operators are to be spread across two floors; the ground floor is to feature a mix of food and beverage units as well as beauty and lifestyle market stalls, dedicated space for regular pop-ups, artisan markets, and events, the developer said.
Further food and drink operators would be located on the first floor, along with private dining rooms, boutique event spaces and flexible office space.
In addition, the revised proposals feature 30 ‘contactless’ hotel rooms that would be booked via an app and have keyless check-in.
WMC Retail Partners was in line to operate the venture but McGoff has now opted to run the site itself through its facilities management division.
White Crate, the architecture firm behind Bruntwood’s Hatch scheme in Manchester, has been appointed to adapt the original designs drawn up by Street Design Partnership.
McGoff Group remains committed to and excited about Market 41, and insists it will be a “key area of focus” for the firm this year, the company said.
McGoff added: “Refocusing our efforts on reassessing the project to ensure it is future proof has taken some time, but we are now confident that we have a business model that is fit-for-purpose and deliverable.”
The firm is in talks with potential funders for the venture.