A £2.5m redevelopment project in the heart of Newcastle is set to create around 100 jobs.
Ladhar Leisure has already breathed new life into the Newcastle Quayside through the successful openings of Hop and Cleaver and The Redhouse, representing more than £1m of investment into the rejuvenated area.
Now the company is continuing their mission to restore historic buildings back to their former glory by bringing a 15-year plan focussed on White Hard Yard to fruition in a two-phase scheme inspired by the destination pop-up developments of Shoreditch and Dalston in London.
The project, covering more than 30,000sq ft of Grade I property between Grey Street and the Cloth Market which will be carried out in stages, eventually encompassing five floors and – including terraced areas – at least nine different zones, each pledging to offer visitors a unique experience.
Director Barry Ladhar said: “The family are very excited about this project – it’s been many years in the waiting.”
The firm has owned the building for 15 years and has had licences in place for several years.
However, directors have bided their time in actioning the regeneration project, spending several years working with city conservation and heritage teams, NE1 Ltd and Newcastle City Council to ensure sure their plans make a perfect fit with planners’ vision for the city.
Most of the required planning permission has been acquired in advance, paving the way for subcontractors to start work in January, with the ground floor phase set to open in April 2015.
The basement area will be turned into a 1,000sqft champagne and wine tasting bar and wine testing.
The ground floor area will boast two bars and a huge, paved outside area which has the potential to play host to pop up events while also acting as an impressive beer garden.
Tarmac on the Grey Street entrance to the yard and along the alleyway running alongside the front of the new bar areas will be ripped up and authentic cobbles will be brought up to pavement level.
The firm’s gentlemen’s club will switch to the Cloth Market side of the building and the second phase will also see a late night venue move upstairs.
The second phase, concentrating on the upper floors, won’t begin until late 2015 or early 2016 and the project will finish with the creation of a 1,600sqft rooftop, late bar venue with views across the city.
The ground floor will also feature zones for pop-up concepts, with director Barry Ladhar keen to showcase guest independent firms.
He describes the firm’s visions as a “cultural and hybrid festival venue that will stir up music, food and drink and, as importantly, discussion, focussing on the very best the North of England has to offer in street food, cocktails, music events and the pioneering craft drinks market.”
The firm has turned to the talents of designer and two time Northern Interior Designer of the Year Simon McIlwraith of Gateshead’s Collective Design to give the venue its look.
Mr Ladhar said: “White Hart Yard aims to be an aspirational and discerning all-day hangout showcasing a multi-venue experience of bars, food concepts and event spaces.
“Regular street stalls, pop-up cinema, guest chefs and masterclasses mixed with the best in food, drink, music and retail will make this a unique Newcastle experience.
“From our point of view, we think this will add a new, independent dimension to what is happening on Grey Street.
“What the chain bars and restaurants have been doing is great and they do it well, but we have always shouted about the independent operators in the North East.
“We’re very excited by the scheme. We’ve had the building since 1999 and have been through so many different thought processes, and have now developed something really exciting.”
Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications for NE1 Ltd, welcomed news of the scheme.
He said: “We have seen a huge growth in Newcastle’s licensed trade especially in the mid to up market sectors, much of which has happened around Grey Street, High Bridge and the Quayside.
“This development further compliments the existing offer and creates more employment opportunities in the city centre. It is exciting to witness this investment which is great news for the area including the Bigg Market which is currently being earmarked for further investment over the next few years.”