Property round-up

JDW and Star unveil £700k refits, BrewDog confirms half a dozen UK sites ‘under construction’

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?

Related tags Brewdog Jd wetherspoon Star pubs & bars Shepherd neame Property Finance

Nationwide pub operators JD Wetherspoon (JDW) and Star Pubs & Bars both revealed pub projects costing in the region of £750,000, while BrewDog detailed its continued expansion.

Shepherd Neame upgrades Faversham home

Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has installed a new yeast propagation plant at its Faversham brewery, which will take a small quantity of yeast created in the brewery’s laboratory and multiply it into a large volume for use in brewing.

The project began in March but was postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic before resuming in recent weeks. 

A Victorian brick wall was removed from the chosen brewhouse’s façade and replaced by a steel frame before engineers dug new foundations to ensure the flooring was strong enough to take the necessary weight. 

An area of roofing was also removed, to allow the equipment to be dropped down into the space.

“We have previously been propagating yeast using an amalgam of equipment which wasn’t specifically designed for the task and is now coming towards the end of its life, so this new plant will make a huge difference to the efficiency of our production process,” Shepherd Neame chief engineer Mark Bowes said.

“A key difference is that the system is fully automated, so in addition to saving time for our team members, it will be a completely sterile process and will also ensure a consistency in quality. 

“Our previous system also required us to buy pure oxygen to aerate the yeast, while this system just uses air, and due to its energy-efficient design, it will also require less electricity to power the entire process. 

“We hope it will be up and running by the end of October.”


Six UK BrewDog sites ‘under construction’

Independent Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog has revealed that it is currently working towards a number of new openings in the UK, with discussions also underway on acquiring further venues.

One new opening will see the craft brewer team up with Red's True Barbecue, which has been based on the site of BrewDog’s earmarked Headingly site in Leeds, for several years.

As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post​, BrewDog chief executive officer James Watt said: “Feels like a crazy time to be expanding but we have the following bars under construction.

“New DogTap Ellon, Shanghai, Huddersfield, Headingley, Lincoln, Bradford, Mumbai, Wiesbaden and Plymouth with a few other deals close too.”

Merseyside pub reopens after £700,000 refit

The Hightown Hotel in Hightown, Merseyside, has reopened for the first time in nine months following a near three quarter of a million-pound revamp from Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars.

The pub, which was due to reopen under new licensees the McLoughlin family in March, has retained 19th​ century features such as its wooden floors, sash windows and open fires and will accommodate 150 indoor guests alongside 110 covers in a new alfresco area.

The McLoughlins also hope a first floor function room with space for more than 100 and its own private terrace will be ready in the New Year, while a £1.2m poitin, whisky and gin distillery and ensuite boutique letting rooms are earmarked for later in 2021.

“The pub looks beautiful,” Patrick McLoughlin commented. “We’re over the moon and excited to be finally opening.

“There’s been a massive amount of interest from residents; they’ve been desperate for the pub to reopen and to have somewhere to meet up again. 

“We can’t thank them enough for their support and good wishes. We’re looking forward to being part of the community.” 


Suburban Green to open second site 

North west-based wine bar and restaurant operator Suburban Green has revealed plans to open its second site after acquiring a new 10,420 sq ft site in Chorlton, Greater Manchester.

In taking a 15-year lease on the property, the small plates restaurant, cocktail and wine bar operator’s latest site will join its restaurant in Wilmslow, Cheshire in a now two-strong stable. 

Suburban Green was founded in 2017 by Martin Lowe and Cal Gregg-Williams. 

“Acquiring what we feel is one of the most prominent properties on Beech Road, this site is exactly the location we want to continue the growth of Suburban Green,” Lowe explained. “Our mission is to deliver a premium hospitality experience to our customers on their doorstep." 

Tom Cunningham, licensed leisure and hotels director at Savills Manchester, added: “In spite of the challenges brought about by Covid-19, Chorlton remains a sought after location for bar and restaurant operators with its high quality offering and affluent residential neighbourhood. 

“Sixty Beech Road is the perfect location for Suburban Green’s second site, complementing its existing restaurant in Wilmslow, and will add further to the high calibre of independent operators already in the area.”


JDW reopens Grade II listed pub after £700,000 facelift

Nationwide pub operator JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has reopened the Picture House pub in Stafford, Staffordshire, for the first time since October following a £700,000 restoration project.

The Grade II listed former theatre and cinema building first opened under JDW in March 1997 but was damaged by flooding in October 2019.

 “Our staff and customers are delighted that the Picture House has reopened after being closed for many months,” a JDW spokesperson told Express & Star​.

“We look forward to the pub playing an important role in Stafford’s social scene for many more years to come.”

News of JDW’s latest investment comes after the Tim Martin-owned operator opened the £2.6m Charles Henry Roe​​ in Leeds' Cross Gates suburb in June and announced plans to pump £6.6m into two further Yorkshire sites.

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