JW Lees to open first new-build site in 10 years

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

First opening: the Stanneylands in Wilmslow will reopen this week after ground-floor work and exterior landscaping
First opening: the Stanneylands in Wilmslow will reopen this week after ground-floor work and exterior landscaping

Related tags: Property, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased, Beer, Finance

Manchester brewer and pub operator JW Lees is set to open three sites including its first new-build pub in more than 10 years at the end of the month – and is targeting more acquisitions.

However, it will unveil the newly refurbished Stanneylands Hotel in Wilmslow, Greater Manchester, after a ground floor refurbishment of the reception, bar and restaurant as well as exterior landscaping works this week. 

JW Lees purchased the iconic Stanneylands Hotel in 2018 and leads the chronological order of the trio of large-scale investments projects that were all started during the pandemic. 

New site at aerodrome

The new-build site opening at the end of February will be a pub-restaurant called the Aviator at Woodford Aerodrome, to the east of Wilmslow.

At the end of March, JW Lees will reopen the Red Lion in Withington, just south of Manchester city centre, which the company purchased in February 2020 as the UK went into its first coronavirus lockdown.

JW Lees managing director of JW Lees William Lees-Jones said: “It feels good to be back opening new pubs again after so long and we have 25 significant developments planned on our existing estate of 143 pubs this year. We also have ambitions to grow our estate by acquisition and are actively looking for freehold hotels, inns and pubs in the north-west.”

Pipeline building

Late last year, the business said it was ready to expand​, with William Lees-Jones saying at the time: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on survival and this has meant that we have not been doing any acquisitions of capex at all, with cash preservation our number one priority but we are starting to build a pipeline of both developments and acquisitions from 2022 and beyond.

“We think there will be many opportunities and we are already looking at a number [of sites] but we will be patient and even then we will only add sites that sit comfortably within our tight acquisition criteria and perhaps more importantly are sites that we can add value to with the JW Lees brand.”

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