The new owner of Manchester's London Road fire station site is looking for a number of "exciting and independent" restaurant operators to sit alongside the hotel being developed within the iconic building by the Zetter Group.
Property developer Allied London bought the property in November 2015 after previous owner Britannia Hotels allowed it to remain derelict for 29 years despite promising to create a 227-bedroom hotel.
Having announced last month that the Zetter Fire Station hotel, with around 90 bedrooms, would be the anchor business for the Grade II-listed Edwardian Baroque-style building, Allied London has undertaken a public consultation and as a result is looking to sign up three or four restaurateurs who "dare to be different".
At a dinner held in the fire station's engine room for 150 guests, including many prospective operators, Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, said that the the city would not respond well to "mediocre chains", but instead wants authentic outlets which give people "a real" experience.
"We want this development to be a game changer," he explained.
Work on developing the building, which also compromises a former coroner's court, police station with cells, and ambulance station, is expected to start in early 2017, with the hotel opening in mid-2018. Located opposite Manchester's Piccadilly station, the development is expected to become a community hub with apartments, works spaces and retail outlets.
Speaking at the event, Graham Copeman, group hotel director of the Zetter, said that the company had previously created a story behind each of the three hotels it operates in London. "Here we don't need to create a narrative; it has already been presented to us and we're looking forward to working with interior designer Russell Sage who intends to preserve the history of the building," he said.
"We are thrilled to be part of this project."