A DEAL worth £8 million to bring four top restaurant brands to Chester will create a “dining district with a European feel”.
Las Iguanas, Chimichanga, Coast to Coast and Restaurant Bar and Grill are set to open new eateries in the former Habitat and Multiyork stores on Pepper Street by next summer.
Work has just begun on the development, which will see alfresco dining areas and rooftop terraces meld with stylish glass fronts.
The old Methodist chapel, which will host Restaurant Bar and Grill, will not be changed significantly due to its Grade II listed status.
The new restaurants will join established premises such as Piccolino’s, Black House Grill, The Church and Zizzi to create a quarter dubbed the ‘Pepper Street dining district’ by the buildings owners.
The Carlyle Group and Bride Hall are confident the move will be a great boost to the city centre economy, initially supporting more than 150 construction jobs.
Roger Gorham, director at Bride Hall, told the Leader: “These are big old empty buildings that are doing nothing for anybody at the moment. What we’re doing is getting in big names, generating jobs and boosting the local economy.
“The restaurants will have a really European feel. We believe our stylish development will inject more footfall, personality and life into the area.”
The news comes less than a week after the announcement that TK Maxx and Sports Direct had signed a combined 25-year lease as part of a £5 million development at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, also owned by the Carlyle Group and Bride Hall.
Construction work is also underway at the new business district, close to the railway station, and plans for the long-awaited Northgate Development seem finally to be moving forward.
Mr Gorham said it was now an exciting time for Chester, as organisations such as the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) and council joined forces to boost the city’s fortunes.
Once ranked the fifth best shopping destination in the UK, the city is said to have slipped to 59th over the last 10 years.
However, Mr Gorham said now was the time for people to get behind their city and help it secure its rightful place back in the top 10.
“Chester has slipped down the rankings but that’s why so many of us are trying to turn that around,” he said.
“The city has so much to offer and, with everything that’s going on, it can get back into the top 10. We need to really big Chester up now. Things are looking really good for the future.”
Construction work, undertaken by North West firm Pochin, is expected to be completed by next February, with restaurants fitted out and ready for opening within the following two months.