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Mon 20th Oct 2014 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Michelin-starred Tom Sellers to open first pub restaurant at Chris Evans's Lickfold Inn: The chef Tom Sellers, whose Restaurant Story in Bermondsey, South London won its first Michelin star just five months after it opened, has taken over the long-closed Lickfold Inn, near Petworth, in West Sussex, previously owned by the DJ Chris Evans, and will reopen it at the end of November as a pub restaurant. Sellers said: "I want to bring back the Lickfold with big impact, introducing some of my own cooking style but still respecting the legacy of a real, proper pub.” Sellers is appointing Graham Squire who previously worked at Trinity and Bistro Union with Adam Byatt and before that was at Claridge’s for seven years, as head chef at the Lickfold Inn. The inn, which was closed for four years, will reopen with the ground floor as a "proper pub" serving craft and local beer, a range of modern and traditional cocktails, and snacks, including Scotch eggs, pork pies and charcuterie. Upstairs will be a dining room with capacity for 36, which will be open for lunch and dinner from Monday through Saturday, and lunch only on Sunday. It will serve up a modern British menu using local suppliers. Evans bought the Lickfold Inn in 2007 for more than £1m, but closed down the pub in 2010 after it struggled to make a profit. He finally put it on the market in March this year, and in May it was announced that it had been sold to an anonymous London-based company that confirmed it intended to run the business as a pub and restaurant. The cost of buying and renovating the pub is estimated to be around £1m.

Company News:

Greene King weighing improved bid for Spirit: Greene King is weighing an improved bid for Spirit ahead of a deadline tomorrow (Tuesday), according to the Sunday Times. The brewer and retailer had a 100p-a-share offer, valuing the company at £661m, turned down last month. The Sunday Times reported that Greene King is expected to return with a 110p-per-share offer today or tomorrow. The newspaper claimed the two sides have been holding talks to see if a deal can be agreed.

Piper Private Equity invests £6m in Hickory’s: Piper Private Equity, which backs Turtle Bay and Be At One, has invested £6m in the emerging US-style barbeque chain Hickory’s. The chain was founded in 2010 by Neil McDonnell and has sites in Chester, West Kirby and the Welsh seaside town of Rhos-on-Sea. McDonnell imports specialist catering equipment from Memphis to smoke meat at Hickory’s. Serial restaurant investor Paul Campbell will become chairman. Piper sees potential for 100 sites in the UK.
  
PizzaExpress to open in Street this month: PizzaExpress will open at the high street entrance to the Clarks Village shopping centre in Street, Somerset this month . The shopping centre attracts 3.5 million visitors a year. PizzaExpress is creating 25 jobs after getting planning consent to convert a former Edinburgh Woollen Mills shop. JD Wetherspoon is also looking to expand its site in the town with planning consent sought to add the adjacent shop to its trading footprint. Street also houses Millfield, one of the UK’s largest co-educational boarding schools. The manager of the Clarks Village centre, Geoffrey Nidd, said: "We work hard to try to attract major brands and we will continue to do that because we know that will compel people to make the journey to come to Clarks in the current competitive market. We have a number of big brands lined up in the future. It will continue to make Clarks Village a vibrant and enjoyable shopping outlet."

Chestnut Inn opens second site:
Chestnut Inn, the EIS-backed operator led by Philip Turner, has opened its second site, the Rupert Brooke in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. It opened almost a year to the day since Turner opened the first Chestnut Inns pub, the Packhorse Inn, Moulton near Newmarket. The Grantchester venue has been totally renovated to reflect the Chestnut Inns’ operating ethos, "locally sourced food, great service and a traditional role at the heart of the community". It has an upper-floor private-dining "club Room' with access to roof terraces. The gardens overlooking the Grantchester Meadows and the footpath to Cambridge will be restored for next spring. Turner said: “It has been the most amazing year for Chestnut Inn and its first business the Packhorse Inn. In the last couple of months we’ve won 'best food pub' for the East in the Great British Pub Awards; the Sunday Times highlighted us as one of 10 pubs or 'boutique boozers' in its Ultimate 100 British hotels feature; Sawday’s named us one of its three 'Favourite Newcomers'; and to top it all, the Packhorse Inn was awarded three AA Rosettes, putting us in the top three restaurants for Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, according to the AA.”

Former Granada TV HQ to become 'event' hotel with four restaurants: Allied London Properties, the company behind the Spinningfields development in Manchester, is to turn the former Granada TV headquarters in Manchester city centre into a 200-bedroom "event" hotel that will house four restaurants and a number of bars, including a members' club on the top floor. The company said the hotel, to be called the Manchester Grande, will be modelled on hotels in New York, Miami and the Far East, where the focus is on food and drink as well as nightly events including performances, music, film, theatre and arts and club events. Allied London took control of the 13.5-acre site earlier this year, renaming it St Johns. Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, said the hotel would be the first of its kind in the UK. He said: "With the development of St Johns, we're creating a new neighbourhood in the heart of Manchester, a place that distinguishes itself by its unique cultural history, diverse mix of inhabitants, rich context and its position at the crossroads of Manchester's network. The Manchester Grande event hotel fits perfectly with this vision." Subject to planning permission, development of the Manchester Grande is due to begin in 2016.
 
Chinese Buffet plans tenth outlet in Bury: The Chinese Buffet, which had the official opening of its ninth outlet in Blackpool last week, is due to open a tenth restaurant in Bury next month. The chain, which was founded by Peter Wu, who launched his first restaurant in Bolton in 2006, will be opening in the Rock Shopping Centre. Chinese Buffet, which has a stated ambition to be the biggest Chinese restaurant chain in the country, said that since its Blackpool restaurant opened its doors, business has exceeded all expectations, and extra staff have been taken on.
 
Jimmy's World Grill and Bar shuts Derby restaurant: Jimmy's World Grill and Bar has shut its outlet in the Riverlights development in Derby after less than three years. At the same time the chain, which runs nine restaurants around England, announced that it would be opening a new outlet in Brighton. The 400-seater Derby restaurant, which cost £1.5m, was the second Jimmy's site, and had only been open since February 2012. Like the chain's other outlets, it served more than 100 dishes including pizza, pasta, stir fry sushi and grilled chicken, with customers given the option of choosing dishes on display or having ingredients cooked fresh by its team of 15 chefs in front of them at “live stations". Jimmy’s has not revealed why the outlet has shut but it said it “apologised for any inconvenience caused”. The chain is owned by East and West Leisure Group and run by Amrik Uppal and Kuldip Singh.

Noble Inns sells Lady Ottoline to Truffle Hunting: London gastro-operator Noble Inns has sold its Lady Ottoline site, a Punch Taverns site, to London restaurant operator and consultancy Truffle Hunting. Noble Inns founder Scott Hunter said the site had been sold because the company’s direction had changed significantly in the three years since it first opened the pub. Truffle Hunting, headed by Nigel Sutcliffe and James Maclean, is behind Newman Street Tavern, Fitzrovia, the Henry Root in Fulham and the Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush. A sister company to Noble Inns, Noble Bars and Diners is planning to open a new concept Bad Egg near Moorgate Tube Station later this year. Noble Inns has set the groundwork for expansion this year with Simon Holroyd becoming managing director and Neil Rankin becoming group executive.

Cote to make Liverpool debut in early December: French brasserie chain Cote will make its Liverpool debut in a 2,707 sq ft site within Liverpool One’s Paradise Street in early December. Cote is split over two levels with an outside terrace and will be only its second in the north west. Miles Dunnett, head of asset management at Liverpool One’s owner Grosvenor Liverpool Fund, said: “Over the last 18 months, we have focused on attracting premium dining brands to Liverpool One to create a concentration of restaurants on Paradise Place, adjacent to John Lewis, to complement the existing offer on The Terrace. Cote finalises the mix, joining Byron, Browns and Jamie’s Italian in establishing a new premium dining destination in the city.” Harald Samuelsson, joint managing director of Cote, added: “Liverpool has a thriving restaurant scene, driven to a great extent by the success of Liverpool One. These factors combined made our decision to debut in the city an easy one. We are in a fantastic and well-established location, and look forward to bringing great value, high quality all day French dining to Liverpool.” The news coincides with a very strong catering performance for Liverpool One overall, with sector sales up 12% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2013.

Wetherspoon plans North Walsham pub: JD Wetherspoon is looking to open a pub in the council offices in North Walsham, Norfolk (population: 12,463). The company is proposing a £1.6m investment in the New Road buildings, which would create 50 new jobs. North Norfolk District Council, which owns the listed building, said it would be a welcome boost for the economy of the town, which has had problems and is seeking to regenerate. JD Wetherspoon approached the council in June and a conditional offer was made in late September, local members and the town council have been told. JD Wetherspoon spokesman, Eddie Gershon said: “If the plans come to fruition we would look to invest £1.6 million on the development project and create up to 50 new full and part time jobs.”
 
Coffee Republic franchisee opens second site, on track for 20 new sites this year: Coffee Republic franchisee Chatty Bean, owned by Dave Waller, has opened its second franchised site, on the high street in Chatham, Kent. Chatty Bean also operates the Coffee Republic franchise in Gravesend. Coffee Republic currently operates 17 franchised bars in the UK, plus four company-managed sites, including one at Bluewater Shopping Centre, plus more than 350 concessions UK-wide with the likes of Odeon, Cineworld and Fitness First. It has an international presence with 23 stores, and is experiencing its biggest period of growth since the new owners took over in 2009. The company is on track for its planned 20 new UK franchises over the next 12 months, with bars in locations such as the new Northampton railway station, Whitechapel in East London, the New East Shopping Centre in Green Street, also in East London, and Lewisham and Southwark College on the South Bank, London all due to open pre-Christmas. A spokesman said: “The company is currently working with a number of new franchisees who have joined the franchise over the last six months, and is seeking suitable locations in London, the South and Home Counties for new franchisees, in prominent High Street locations, with an average of 100 to 110 square metres of trading space, with corner aspects of particular interest.”
 
Des McDonald opens second Fish & Chip Shop: Restaurateur Des McDonald has opened his second Fish & Chip Shop outlet, on Old Broad Street in the City of London. His first Fish & Chip Shop outlet opened in Upper Street, Islington, last year. He is planning further openings for it and his barbecue restaurant Q Grill in Soho and Covent Garden , which will also have a winter pop-up at the Canary Wharf ice rink in Dockland. McDonald said: “The City has changed a lot. That old dynamic of the City where if you were eating out you went straight to the West End has changed.”

Sekhon Group buys Enterprise pub: Sekhon Group, led by Simmy Sekhon, has bought the Pub at the Rock, Holywell Green, Calderdale, West Yorkshire from Enterprise Inns and has re-opened the site. Sekhon said: “The Sekhon group has acquired the freehold of the Rock Inn Hotel. We look forward to welcoming patrons with open arms.” The pub re-opened its doors with a ‘£2 all drinks, all weekend’ offer. The Sekhon Group is a developer and investor in student residential accommodation and commercial property including hotels, leisure and retail sites. It has a tenant base of over 800 tenants.

Butcombe Brewery reports sale and profit increase: Butcombe Brewery, the North Somerset-based brewer and operator of 18 pubs led by Guy Newell, has reported that sales rose £300,000 to £8.7m in the year to 28 February 2014. Ebitda fell 6% to £2.1m and pre-tax profit was £1.02m, up from £561,000 the year before. The company said "Our increased marketing spend and 'get involved' campaign gained traction in the second half of our financial year; bottled volumes into the supermarket trade continued to grow strongly. Like-for-like sales at our 18 outlets were flat and ebitda unchanged from last year at £1.3m. The sale of two pubs reduced pubs sales from £10.2m to £9.5m. Interest costs declined to £266,000 (2013: £271,000) as a result of a lower level of debt. Cash generation has been strong with a reduction over the 12 months of total debt of £1.36m. We are forecasting a further £60,000 reduction in interest charges in the current financial year.” The company said its current financial year had started encouragingly, with beer and cider volumes moving up, building on the trends seen in the six months to February 2014.

Purple Pig seeks change to '10% drinkers' rule:
The Purple Pig chain of gourmet burger restaurants is seeking to have the licence changed at its outlet in Yarm, Stockton so that it can serve alcohol to more than 10% of customers not eating a meal. At the moment, the restaurant can sell drink only to customers eating meals, with an exception made for those accompanying the people eating. However, the wording of the exception says: “so long as the numbers do not exceed 10% of the total number of persons in the premises at any given time”. The chain's managing director, Som Emadi, wants this to be changed to “a maximum of 20 people to consume alcoholic drinks without a table meal in the front/bar area of the premises at any given time”. Emadi said: “The condition is 10%, and it’s very hard to police that. It’s hard to work out if the 10% is being adhered to. I don’t really like to have anyone drinking at the moment as it’s not worth the risk. If I have someone drinking and someone else arrives, what do I do, ask them to leave or tell them they can’t have a drink because someone else already has a drink?” Two objections have been raised to the request, both on the grounds of "public nuisance", one from Stockton Council’s Environmental Health department and another from a member of the public. The council's licensing sub-committee is to consider the application at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). Purple Pig runs restaurants in Hull and Middlesbrough, as well as Yarm.
 
Davy's Wine Bar welcomes Meantime Brewery plus tank beer: The London-based Davy's Wine Bars chain has added to its draught beer range with the introduction of London Lager and London Pale Ale from Meantime, the Greenwich brewer. Area manager Philip Lightbody said: "Wine is and will continue to be our key focus. However, we wanted to add to the beer range available to our customers. The initial results are strong, we have seen significant growth in beers sales in a very short space of time.” Later in the month, Meantime Brewery fresh tanks are being added to Davy's of Woolgate and Lazybones sites.
 
St Austell launches proper beer 'suds': St Austell Brewery and the Cornish soapmaker Sapooni have collaborated to ensure that beer lovers can now get properly lathered with a "beer soap" made with the brewery's Proper Job IPA. The soap recipe combines Proper Job with hops and essential oils of sweet orange and grapefruit, to complement the hoppy, citrusy aroma of the beer, together with olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter. Jeremy Mitchell, marketing and communications director for St Austell Brewery, said: “We’re very excited to see another local Cornish company putting one of our beers to good use in such an unusual way. The soap is on sale in the St Austell visitor centre and has been attracting a lot of attention – the way Proper Job has been combined with the other ingredients has resulted in a soap which smells very appealing.”
 
Durham fish and chip shop chain expands into Washington: Bells, a takeaway fish and chip shop chain with three outlets in Durham, is spending £200,000 opening new premises in Washington, Tyne and Wear. Graham Kennedy, owner of Bells, said: "The property provides a superb platform for us to showcase our tried and tested brand with a quality product and I have no doubt that the takeaway will be as successful and popular as our Durham outlets." The chartered surveying firm Bradley Hall helped Kennedy secure a deal to lease the 1,250 sq ft unit from landlord Hellens Developments, which is near a Sainsbury's Local on the multi million-pound Teal Farm housing development. Peter Bartley, a director at Bradley Hall, said: "The opening of this unit will allow people further north of the region to sample what I believe to be the best fish and chips in the north." 
 
Starbucks to allow visible tattoos, black denim and free food, aims to double food business: Starbucks is updating its staff dress code in the United States to allow visible tattoos, coloured ties and neck scarves and black denim for the first time from today (20 October). The company also announced that in January, all baristas and shift supervisors at its stores in the US will receive a pay increase in January, and the company will be increasing its start rates in all US markets. "The new rates will ensure we are paying a competitive wage that better positions us to attract and keep the best partners," the company said. Other new benefits for US employees starting in January include the right to choose one free food item, per shift, from the pastry or ready-to-eat case. The move was to enable staff to explore the company's food offerings, including La Boulange, "in the same way you do our beverages," Starbucks told its staff, adding: "Over the next five years we aspire to double our food business and to make this possible we need to improve your food experience." On the HR front, Starbucks said it was eliminating performance review forms and ratings for baristas and shift supervisors. Instead, it said: "You will have more time with your manager to have conversations about your store, personal goals and career aspirations including performance and development." The company added: "We will recognise partners who are exceeding expectations with a Barista Trainer premium and the opportunity to be one of more than 28,000 Partners of the Quarter we will celebrate each year with a bonus."
 
Footwear retailer acquires 200-cover Newport restaurant: One of the brothers behind the York-based retailer Pavers Shoes, Ian Paver, has acquired the 200-cover restaurant Junction 28 in Newport, Gwent from the former Wales rugby league international Richard Wallace and his co-owner Jon West in a deal set up by the property agent Christie + Co. Nicholas Calfe, of Christie + Co's Bristol office, who handled the sale, said: "We are pleased to see this iconic restaurant will be taken good care of and re-invested in by the new private owners, thus ensuring its loyal customers its success for the future but still retaining its excellent quality and service." Junction 28 was sold for an undisclosed sum, but marketed at a guide price of £875,000.
 
£3m hotel, restaurant and spa planned for Westward Ho!: Plans have been submitted for brand new £3m hotel in the centre of Westward Ho! in Devon, including 15 rooms, a rooftop spa and restaurant. The developer Westward Living has already constructed a bar and restaurant, luxury apartments and several shops in the Latitude 51 development. The WHotel will be in front of new public toilets, on land which was earmarked previously for use as a village square, and could create up to 70 new full time jobs. Developer Alan Smith said “As part of the regeneration programme, Westward Ho! needs more accommodation and in particular its own four star, prestigious hotel."
 
Chop Chop plans to use Glasgow restaurant as template for UK expansion: The Edinburgh-based Chinese restaurant venture Chop Chop, which launched a crowd-funding effort last week to pay for its planned new outlet in Glasgow, has revealed that it intends using the Glasgow restaurant as the template for additional restaurants in Aberdeen and across England, following the same outdoor design. Roy King, co-owner of the venture, told STV: “Glasgow will become the flagship to our new expansion and we’re going to put a lot of thought into the ambience. Chop Chop in Edinburgh is like a Chinese cafe, it’s all about the food. In Glasgow, and for the chain, we want to reflect the simplicity and naturalness of our food into the decoration. Chop Chop in Mitchell Street will be situated in the city centre, but you’ll feel like you’re in a park. We’ll have cherry blossoms and you’ll be able to look up and see blue sky and clouds and we’ll have a path from the entrance to the bar that reflects a garden path with paving stones.” King said that Chop Chop had always planned to expand beyond Edinburgh. “We had it in our minds for a long time to expand,” he said. “My wife was very brave in opening Chop Chop, she decided to open a north-eastern Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh because she had total belief in the food. It’s so different to what we think of as Chinese, the majority of those restaurants originate from the Hong Kong area but the food from north-east China is very different. There are a lot of pan-Asian restaurants popping up and our style fitted well with the pan-Asian trend and informal dining, we wanted to create a brand as the idea was too good to keep to ourselves. It was obvious for us to move to Glasgow. Glasgow has a reputation for dining out and people seem to do it more often – it’s quite an outgoing gregarious city.” The plans to open in Glasgow come after the closure of Chop Chop at The Shore in Leith after a mutual agreement with its neighbouring restaurant The Kitchin, which will use Chop Chop's space to expand.
 
Hogs Back Brewery opens bar at Guildford events centre: Hogs Back Brewery in Surrey has opened a bar at Guildford’s G Live venue. The company brews more than 20,000 hectolitres a year, and beers including TEA ale, Hazy Hog cider and Hogstar lager will be available at the bar on draught. A selection of bottled craft beers will be served at the new bar, as well as in the main bar. Alvin Hargreaves, director of G Live, said: “G Live Guildford and the Hogs Back Brewery actually make rather good bedfellows. We share values that are rooted in quality, bespoke customer experiences that are firmly focused on local communities in the Guildford and Surrey areas. G Live has recognised the need to increase bar capacity for larger events to further improve customer service and by partnering with the Hogs Back Brewery, we aim to do this in a highly personalised and innovative way. The new bar reflects the refined and diverse needs of our audiences with a great range of local craft ales and beers but the bar also carries the hugely popular, more commercial lagers from Molson Coors.”
 
McDonald’s wins Ashford drive-thru go-ahead on appeal: McDonald’s has won the right to build a drive-through restaurant in Ashford, Middlesex on appeal. The company had applied to build an outlet in London Road but was rejected by Spelthorne Council last December. The Planning Inspectorate reviewed and approved the appeal with a number of minor conditions to be imposed. The application had met with strong opposition because the site is opposite the hospital, close to schools and could create queuing traffic. But the inspector said the restaurant's odour and noise would be controlled, McDonald’s would litter-pick and there will be a restriction on delivery times. Service hours will be restricted to 6am to midnight.

Caernarfon Market Hall re-opened with craft brewery, bar and restaurant: The once derelict Caernarfon Market Hall in Gwynedd, North Wales has been turned into a “flagship tourist destination” that will include multi-use floor space together with a craft brewery and bar, while a 400-seat restaurant is to follow in January. Developers say the renovation of the 19th-century building will create jobs, increase visitor numbers and benefit surrounding businesses. The contractor behind the project, David Williams, of Pobl Cyf, said: “What this development does do is transform a derelict building into a vibrant and dynamic environment that will help create employment and provide another asset to Caernarfon as a flagship tourist destination.”
 
New launch aims to maximise meeting room usage:
A new business set up by a clutch of experienced international hoteliers aims to double the occupancy rates of hotel meeting rooms by launching an online real-time central reservation system. The founders of the new company, Okanda, say it will revolutionise the booking process for hoteliers and meeting-room customers alike. They aim to increase the occupancy of meeting rooms from 30% to 60%, which, they say, will boost thousands of UK hotels’ profitability and, at the same time, streamline the time-consuming booking process for customers. The business, which has raised more than £1m in seed funding, is to launch later this year in the UK and Germany before seeking to expand into international territories. Industry statistics suggest meeting rooms are only in use 30% of the time in the UK hotel market, where there are more than  10,000 such rooms seating up to 50 people, worth approximately £40bn a year.
 
Coventry set for restaurant quarter development: Coventry's Cathedral Lanes shopping centre has been sold in a £5.5m deal which could see it transformed into a new restaurant and bar quarter. The shopping mall in Broadgate has been bought by the London-based firm Shearer Property Group. The new owner plans to have the first phase completed and bars and restaurants open in time for Christmas next year. Shearer Property Group, which has bought the 65,000 square foot centre from Hammerson, claims to have already attracted interest from several leading restaurant brands that are not currently operating in the city. Owner Guy Shearer said: “The building has south and west-facing aspects which are perfect for its conversion into a restaurant destination with outdoor seating, and the way it is constructed will allow us to transform it into a striking new building. Coventry is a great city which has recently under-performed in developing its retail and restaurant offer, and our scheme will give it a major boost and start to put the city where it should be.”
  
TCG scoops Best Bar None award in Nottingham: The pub and bar operator TCG, led by Nigel Wright, has scooped the Best Bar None large pub category for its Squares site in Nottingham. More than 7,550 votes were cast this year, a significant increase on previous years. Karen Williams, manager of Squares, said: “It is great recognition for us as a business as it acknowledges all the systems and processes that we have in place and all the efforts we make to ensure that we operate responsibly and to the highest standards.”

Napoleons unveils £2m refurbishment at Sheffield casino and restaurant: Napoleons, which runs six casinos and restaurants in Yorkshire and London, is reopening its venue in Owlerton, Sheffield after a six-month, £2m refurbishment. The refurbishment has brought a new restaurant, new bar, new lounge area and an extended gaming floor and also the first outdoor gaming terrace outside London. Mark Allen, chief executive of A&S Leisure Group, the parent company of Napoleons Casinos & Restaurants, said: "We've been at our Owlerton site for nearly 20 years now and after implementing many improvements over this time we felt now was the time to make the investment in drastically improving the facilities. By popular demand, it was clear that we needed a bigger restaurant and bar area, and lounge where customers could relax and enjoy a drink. My personal highlight, however, is our new outdoor gaming terrace; it's a very exciting addition to our casino and currently the only one of its kind outside of London – a Yorkshire 'first' we are very proud of." Other Napoleons Casino & Restaurant outlets are in Leicester Square, London and in Bradford, Hill, Leeds and Eccleshall, Sheffield. A&S Leisure Group is owner by the Sheffield businessman David Allen.
 
Drake & Morgan names Dylan Murray of Soho House as ops director: Drake & Morgan, which currently runs seven large-scale bars and restaurants in London, has named Dylan Murray, the UK director of operation at Soho House Group UK, as its own new operations director. Murray has helped Soho House Group UK grow from eight to 17 sites during his time with the company, and leads a team of 17 general managers. Before joining Soho House in 2009 he was managing director of his own business, running a restaurant and two gastro-pubs. Drake & Morgan said Murray's experience meant he would be "well-positioned" to oversee the next stage in the company's growth, which includes two more sites in the first quarter of 2015 alone, one in Regent's Place, the British Land mixed-use campus occupied by more than 12,000 residents and workers in the West End of London and the other in the new AXA Real Estate development on St Pancras Square, King's Cross, which will also be home to Google's new headquarters. Murray, who will report to managing director Jillian MacLean, will be responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as enhancing the service and delivering the planned roll-out for the company. His predecessor, Jason Thorndycraft, now works at nightclub company Luminar Group as its new operations director.
 
TIAA Henderson buys Spirit portfolio for £54m: TIAA Henderson Real Estate has bought a portfolio of eight pub freeholds in Central and West London, all let to Spirit Pub Company, from Cerberus Capital Management for £54m, or an average of £6.75m each. The pubs are the Shakespeare’s Head on Great Marlborough Street, the Friend at Hand in Bloomsbury, the Roebuck on Chiswick High Road, the Rutland by the Thames in Hammersmith, the Ship in Mortlake, the Museum Tavern on Great Russell Street, the Goat on Kensington High Street and the Two Chairmen near St James’s Park. JLL provided investment advice. Davis Coffer Lyons advised TIAA Henderson. Trevor Watson, director of valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “This purchase is the finest portfolio of Central London freeholds to change hands in recent years.”

Bradford Brewery secures £300,000 of angel investment from brewpub launch: Bradford Brewery, which aims to put the city on the map for high-quality brewing, has secured £300,000 of angel investment to support its growth plans. The investment, which has been secured through Envestors North, will enable the brewery to launch from its own fully refurbished brewpub, the Brewfactory, on Westgate and support its marketing drive to attract further expansion capital. This latest boost comes after the recent announcement of a new £50,000 loan facility agreed by the Bradford-based loan provider Business Enterprise Fund. Bradford Brewery, under managing director Matthew Halliday, has already negotiated with the property owner, Shaw’s Moisture Meters, which is contributing £200,000 to the refurbishment of the site. The brewery will use the investment secured through Envestors to complete the property renovation, purchase its first brewplant, with a brewing capacity of 90m hectolitres a week, and bolster its cash balance ready for going live towards the end of this year. Envestors North, which incorporated Yorkshire Association of Business Angels into the business last year, provides an introduction service for private equity investors, entrepreneurs and companies seeking finance. It typically provides investment of between £300,000 and £1m for younger companies and up to £10m for more established businesses. Halliday said: “Bradford Brewery is a new business with big ambitions. We want to be as synonymous with the city as David Hockney, Bradford Bulls and Bradford City Football Club. This investment, coupled with our own funds and the recently approved loan facility from Business Enterprise Fund, will allow us to enter the market from a very strong financial position. We’ll be working to make sure there’s a Bradford beer on the bar of every pub across the district.”

 
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