Chester Northgate Artists Impression 1
A CGI of the new market

Northgate secures another tenant as CPO hearing nears

The £300m Chester retail and leisure scheme is to welcome Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution, as Cheshire West & Chester Council confirmed that the public inquiry into the use of compulsory purchase powers for the scheme will begin on 7 February.

Allibhoy has taken a 3,000 sqft unit that will face onto the development’s new public square opposite Hunter’s Walk – the arcade from Northgate Street that is to be created from the old library building. Cosy Club has committed to a 5,000 sq ft unit in Hunters Walk.

Tapas Revolution is a mini-chain, the first of which opened in 2010 at Westfield London. Subsequent openings include Shoreditch, the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent; Grand Central above Birmingham New Street station; Meadowhall; Eldon Square, Newcastle; and Southgate, Bath.

Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure at CWAC, said: “The Tapas Revolution mission is to put tapas on the map in the UK and we’re delighted that a culinary entrepreneur of the quality of Omar Allibhoy has chosen Chester to expand his business.

“There are agreements to lease two of the other restaurant units in phase one of the development that are currently in solicitors’ hands. We are also in discussions with catering operators interested in taking the remaining units.”

CWAC, which is advised by GVA on the CPO process, owns or controls 85% of the land required for Northgate at this stage. The inquiry is expected to take three weeks at most and will be held at the University of Chester’s Riverside campus.

In October, CWAC added 50 homes to the proposals for Northgate, taking it to a total of 120, as activity on the project ramped up – a search for a contractor was launched through OJEU, with a potential start date of late 2018 pencilled in. Although funding for the bulk of the project remains to be finalised, CWAC was buoyed in February 2017 by a pre-let to House of Fraser and a funding deal for a Crowne Plaza hotel.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

I am a bit worried that House of Fraser is still being touted as the potential department store tenant in the Northgate scheme. BBC reported a quote from Moody’s credit rating agency saying that “A recovery in HoF’s profitability is dependent upon either an improvement in the company’s product offering or in cost-savings initiatives, which each involve execution risks.” That doesn’t sound too good to me. Do we really need a department store and, if so, couldn’t we emphasise the high quality ambitions of the retail development especially as it is so close to Storyhouse which is proving so successful and attract a top level store rather than one that is struggling?

By Nigel Bruce

Subscribe to our newsletter