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Mon 2nd Mar 2020 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Experiential Leisure Conference returns with all-new content, open for bookings: The Experiential Leisure Conference is returning – bigger and better – providing new insights and expertise on a trend that continues to have a seismic influence on the sector. Propel has partnered with Think Hospitality for the event, which takes place on Tuesday, 28 April at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Following the inaugural half-day event in 2018, this year’s conference will span a full day and feature all-new content. UK and international companies will share insights into their strategies while industry experts will look at some of the key trends shaping the sector. Think Hospitality chief executive James Hacon will take inspiration from around the world to provide an update on the experiential leisure sector. Puttshack chief operating officer Roberto Moretti will share his leadership journey from traditional hospitality formats to experiential, discussing the nuances of the format. Heleri Rande, partner at Think Hospitality, will talk to Rachel Scott, head of leasing at Peel Outlets, about how it is increasingly turning to experiential leisure when developing its lifestyle outlets to create differentiation, talk-ability and drive footfall. Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, founders of Inception Group, which owns and operates concepts including Cahoots and Mr Foggs, will reveal how they centre concepts around a strong story and leverage experiences as part of their proposition. Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, will talk about his journey developing some of the most talked about immersive experiences in the world including ABQ, The Bletchley and Bunyadi. Bread Ahead founder Matt Jones will reveal the recipe behind the successful format of retail, education and hospitality that has put Bread Ahead on the map. Boxpark head of operations Ben McLaughlin will talk about its success in driving footfall and brand buzz by hosting experiential events around live television and sporting events, including a partnership with ITV for Love Island. Red Engine marketing director Juliette Keyte will present the growth journey and brand positioning of Flight Club and Electric Shuffle, giving her top tips of launching locations on a high. The day will also feature insights from two international speakers. Adele Chen, head of the overseas business division at Shanghai Wanyoo Information Technology Co, will talk about the rise of e-sports and the global expansion of its Wanyoo E-sports Studio. Los Angeles-based writer Chris Nichols, author of Walt Disney’s Disneyland, will share what he has learned after studying the history behind the creation of Disneyland for more than four years. He will reveal how Walt Disney hand-picked a team of visionaries, the idea and inspirations that drove the development, and how it has evolved during the past six decades. Tickets are £295 for Propel Premium members, £345 for non-Propel Premium operators and £395 for non-Propel Premium suppliers. To book, email

Industry News:

Bosses from 50 hospitality businesses call on chancellor for urgent business rates support in Budget: Bosses from 50 hospitality business have signed a letter to new chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for urgent support on business rates ahead of the Budget. Pub, bar, restaurant and hotel groups, including Casual Dining Group, Greene King, JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers and Wagamama, are calling for immediate action to prevent further damage to a sector that pays more than £3bn each year in business rates – four times more than it should be under an equitable system, they said. Part of the letter, co-ordinated by UKHospitality, stated: “The urgency for action cannot be overstated. To avoid further damage to hospitality the government must cut business rates in England in the imminent Budget by 10%, and extend reliefs to more hospitality businesses through the removal of the cap on reliefs and via means unfettered by EU state aid rules. This must be accompanied by an immediate and rapid review of the current system with a commitment to shift the tax burden away from property. These changes will help us to provide the jobs and investment that are critical to the economy and our aim of helping the government to deliver on its ambitious policy agenda.” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality is a sector that touches people in communities all across the UK but is being harmed by an outdated business rates system that is simply not fit for purpose. Rising business rates bills mean hospitality businesses don’t have the cash to invest in jobs and revitalising high streets and rural communities. We urge the chancellor to act at the upcoming Budget to help support the sector. The government must push ahead and fulfil its promise on reform without further delay. We are determined to ensure a future rates system benefits the hospitality sector, which has been disproportionately hit over the years.”
New York Council proposes third-party delivery regulations: New York Council has proposed legislation that includes limiting the commission percentage food delivery companies are allowed to charge restaurants. Under the new bills, firms such as UberEats and Grubhub would face tough new regulations. The legislation would also force delivery companies to obtain a licence to operate through the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs and cap their commissions at 10%. Restaurants across the US have frequently complained about delivery firm commissions of up to 30%. Third-party companies will also have to disclose any commissions and fees imposed on participating restaurants and will be prevented from dictating menu prices restaurants can charge on orders. There is also a bill that proposes third-party companies are prevented from charging restaurants for telephone orders that don’t result in an “actual transaction”. Described as the first round of such legislation, the bills are a result of a ten-month inquiry by the council’s small business committee, which included an oversight hearing to understand the impact of food delivery apps on the restaurant industry. Cllr Mark Gjonaj, who chaired the inquiry, said: “David and Goliath is what you have here. We want to give traditional bricks-and-mortar restaurants a fighting chance.” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, added: “Restaurants are having a hard enough time competing in New York City as it is between skyrocketing property taxes and labour costs. Hopefully this package of legislation will help level the playing field and give some basic rights to restaurants.” However, a Grubhub spokesman said restaurants benefited because they received new customers from the millions of dollars it spent on advertising. He argued the legislation would end up “hurting restaurants and consumers”.
Experience economy boosts Intu's February half-term footfall by 4.8%: The number of new leisure attractions and improvements at Intu’s portfolio of destinations helped increase February half-term footfall by 4.8% compared with the same time last year. The biggest rises were at Intu Watford, Intu Lakeside and Intu Metrocentre where a range of leisure brands have opened within new areas of the centres, including the 400,000 square foot extension to Intu Watford. Intu Lakeside saw its half-term footfall boosted by the addition of Nickelodeon Adventure, Puttshack, trampoline park operator Flip Out and Hollywood Bowl within a new 175,000 square foot leisure development that opened last summer. Meanwhile, the arrival of the world’s first Angry Birds Adventure Golf, which is operated by Namco, and new climbing wall Clip ‘n Climb helped to draw in the crowds at Intu Metrocentre. Martin Breeden, centre performance director at Intu, said: “We’re focused on increasing footfall, dwell time and rental performance by bringing in more experiences, brands and design enhancements for our visitors to enjoy.”

Wagamama to reach new nationwide audience via anime advert: Wagamama has launched an innovative advert that features the Japanese art of anime. The advert, entitled Bowl To Soul, combines hand-drawn and computer-illustrated images to create a “dream-like effect”. Creative agency MullenLowe and Passion Animation Studios have created a fantasy animation in partnership with Danish anime director Mads Broni. The advert took six months to create and aims to embody the idea of “kaizen” – Japanese for “good change”. It will be shown nationally at cinemas and on social media until 29 November, while Wagamama will host anime drawing workshops. Chief marketing officer Ross Farquhar said: “Wagamama has always been a keen student of Japan and we’re delighted to introduce the brand to a whole new audience through this beautiful art form.”

Innis & Gunn tops beer and cider YouGov survey: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn is the most recommended beer and cider brand in the UK, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex. The company topped the poll, with 83.1% of those surveyed saying they would recommend Innis & Gunn to a friend or colleague. Fellow Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog was second with 82.6%, while Swedish cider brand Kopparberg was third (77.6%). The rest of the top ten consisted of Guinness (76.9%), Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen (76.2%), Marston’s Hobgoblin and Camden Town Brewery’s Hell’s Lager (both 76.1%), Marston’s Pedigree (75.5%), Peroni (74.1%) and London Pride (72.6%). Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, said: “We have long said our fans are our greatest asset and they’ve proved us right once again with this poll. We know how important recommendation from friends can be in encouraging people to try new beers so this is great news for our customers too.” Last month Innis & Gunn closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Seedrs towards its new brewery in Edinburgh after raising £3.3m. The facility, which will be the first large-scale brewery in Edinburgh for more than 150 years, will be based at Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park.
Teams sought for 2020 Drinks Trade Regatta: Teams are being sought for the brewing industry’s annual sailing event, the Drinks Trade Regatta. The 30th regatta will take place from Friday, 5 June to Sunday, 7 June on the Solent. Teams are asked to donate £1,000 to charity with the top three contributors able to donate a percentage (first place 50%, second 30% and third 20%) to a charity of their choice. Last year 18 teams took part and raised a combined £22,000 for charity. The teams will depart Port Solent, Portsmouth, on a fleet of Sunsail yachts to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to compete in seven races over two days. For more information, call Sunsail account manager Terry Hunt on 02392 222 221.
Job of the week: COREcruitment’s executive search team is supporting a company with a small group of restaurants as it prepares for growth and diversification into new markets. The business is keen to appoint a part-time chief financial officer who has extensive experience in seeking investment, restructuring, breaking into new markets, and mentoring a senior management team. It’s essential the individual has experience in the hospitality sector and proven experience of supporting a business that has undergone extensive expansion. The role would suit someone looking for a position that covers two days a week and offers a salary of circa £220,000 pro rata. For more details, email with your CV or profile.

Company News:

Bob & Berts sets sights on doubling estate as it plots expansion into England: Northern Ireland-based coffee company Bob & Berts has set its sights on growing to 50 stores in three years. Bob & Berts has 23 sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland and is confident of doubling this number with more openings planned in both countries and England as far south as outer London. Colin McClean, who founded the chain with brother-in-law David Ferguson and father Arnold in 2013, self-funding the first 15 sites, told Propel that Bob & Berts would look to Ulster Bank for £1m in debt financing to pay for the next tranche of openings towards the end of this year. Immediate opening plans includes two sites in Northern Ireland and five in Scotland, with locations also being sought in England around north Manchester, Warrington and St Helens. McClean said there was also potential for a total of 12 sites in Scotland. In August 2017, Bob & Berts secured £2m from the BGF to aid its expansion plans. McClean and Ferguson will be among the speakers at the Propel Coffee Conference in London on Monday, 11 May, which is being organised in partnership with Kate Oppenheim at KO-Media. Further details will be released in due course.

Bloomsbury Leisure plans to open cricket-based competitive socialising venture: Bloomsbury Leisure, the pub, bar and leisure venue operator led by Jonathan Dalton, plans to open an indoor cricket-based competitive socialising venture called Batting Stars, Propel has learned. The business, which operates Bloomsbury Lanes, is understood to be in talks to open its first site under the concept in one of the new units at the 100 Bishopsgate development. It is understood the concept has been designed around state-of-the-art bowling machines that can be adjusted as required to take into account the ability levels of players. It can also be adjusted to pitch baseballs. Bloomsbury Leisure first took steps into indoor cricket in 2013, with a prototype net opening at Bloomsbury Lanes. At the time Dalton spoke of launching The Cricket Club – a clubhouse, craft beer bar and diner, with full waitress service to each net. Bloomsbury Leisure operates a number of sites under its Tap concepts, plus London-based pubs including The Raven at Tower Bridge and The Jackalope in Marylebone.

The Fat Duck reports turnover and Ebitda boost as pre-tax profit jumps: The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has reported turnover increased to £7.3m for the year ending 26 May 2019, compared with £6.7m the previous year. Ebitda at the restaurant, which was opened by Heston Blumenthal in 1995, rose to £1.3m compared with £0.9m the year before. Pre-tax profit rose to £747,000 from £298,000 the previous year. In his report accompanying the accounts, director Peter Moody said the restaurant continued to work on efficiency programmes to offset rises in the National Living Wage and inflation in supplier costs, which were affecting margins. The Fat Duck returned to profit in 2017 after posting losses following its sabbatical to Australia while its Berkshire home underwent a £2.5m refurbishment. The restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 2004.

Shoot the Bull plans expansion of Solita brand: Yorkshire-based event and food and beverage operator Shoot The Bull, which recently acquired the two remaining Solita burger and steak restaurants in Manchester for an undisclosed sum, plans to expand the concept, starting with an opening in Leeds. Shoot the Bull founder Chris Harrison told Propel the company, which also operates a national street food and events business, he was excited to bring the group’s “fresh, modern and innovative ideas” into Solita. He said: “We want to provide further excitement and reason to dine at Solita. There are plans to revamp the two Manchester outlets, including adding a craft beer and cocktail bar to the upstairs at Didsbury. The beer gardens will be refurbished in time for the British summer too!” Shoot The Bull plans to immediately grow the Solita brand, with a new home in Call Lane in Leeds, which will open late this month or early April. The Solita business fell into liquidation in February 2019, with its Prestwich closing in June. Owner Simon Pogson started again under a new company name, SP Restaurants, and retained the Northern Quarter and Didsbury sites, as well as the El Taquero Mexican restaurant in the city centre ,which closed last month. Shoot The Bull currently operates The Old House pubs in both York and Hull, Shoot The Bull in Hull Truck Theatre and the Rotisserie & Grill at the Kommune food court in Sheffield.

Peel Hotels signs up to Asset Match: Yorkshire-based Peel Hotels has started trading on Asset Match, the platform that provides liquidity in private company shares, Propel has learned. Peel Hotels has been admitted to trading at a guide price of 50p per share. Auctions are held quarterly and close at 4pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The first scheduled auction is due to close on Tuesday, 31 March. Peel Hotels was listed on the AIM market in spring 1998 when Robert Peel bought the Bull Hotel in Peterborough. Peel and his brother Charles own more than 50% of the company, which operates nine hotels across the UK. It cancelled trading on AIM in September.

Zim Braai to begin expansion with opening in Bournemouth: Zim Braai, the southern African-inspired restaurant venture from Koh Thai founder Andy Lennox, is to begin its expansion with an opening in Bournemouth, Propel has learned. The concept, which launched 14 months ago in Poole, will open a 100-cover restaurant and bar plus terrace in a central location in the town, aided by a loan from Santander. Propel understands the company is also in legals on a third site. Lennox told Propel: “Following the resounding success of our first Zim Braai restaurant in Poole the concept has been incredibly well received and with the backing of Santander and a loyal legion of customers we feel the time is ready to get our second site. With the concept getting rave reviews we’re excited to see where it goes. With African cuisine featuring frequently in foodie trend analysis for 2020, our menu and the concept having been relished by guests thus far, it means we’re ready to take it to the next level.” The company opened its first site , in Ashley Cross, Poole, in December 2018. Lennox told Propel last year he thought Zim Braai could become “even bigger” than the now 13-strong Koh Thai brand he founded more than a decade ago. At the time he said he was looking to open five Zim Braai restaurants in five years. Despite having a focal point on the Braai, the company said its plant-based and vegan options are meticulously crafted and feature as “stand out dishes rather than as an afterthought”. The menu is also 95% dairy and gluten-free. Lennox said: “While we are focused on meat, fish and plant in balance our steaks, ostrich and our homemade biltong remain house favourites as you might expect from our southern African contingency!”

Gary Usher plans Stockport pop-up as he eyes permanent site: Gary Usher, owner of Elite Bistros, is planning a pop-up in Stockport as he eyes a permanent site in the Greater Manchester town. Usher revealed on Twitter he will host a five-day pop-up at an as-yet undisclosed derelict pub in the town in about six weeks’ time. And it is set to pave the way for a permanent site for his group of restaurants, which consists of his original Chester restaurant Sticky Walnut; Burnt Truffle in Heswall; Hispi in Didsbury; Kala in Manchester; Pinion in Prescot; and Wreckfish in Liverpool. Usher told the Manchester Evening News he had “fallen for Stockport, 100%” and was looking at sites in the town for somewhere permanent. “It's going to happen,” he said. “We're going to do a pop-up, I think five nights is probably realistic, and you'll have to reserve a ticket. There's no charge – if you like your food on the night, pay for it, if you don't, don't. It'll be a pay what you want type thing. We'll see how that goes and if there's lots of interest it gives us a little bit more hope and the buzz to make it happen. I like Stockport. I like the vibe. I like the fact it's working hard to evolve and there's lots going on.” Wreckfish was opened after a similar pop-up in a then-derelict building. A crowd-funding campaign was then launched to raise the money to refurbish the site and open it as a permanent restaurant. Pinion and Kala also opened via crowdfunding campaigns – the latter after Usher raised more than £100,000 in 11 hours. 

West Yorkshire-based Italian restaurant opens fourth site with fifth in pipeline: West Yorkshire-based Italian restaurant Capri has opened its fourth site, in Mirfield, near Dewsbury, with a fifth on the horizon. Paymen Karimi has invested £1.4m transforming The Thirsty Man pub in Old Bank Road, which closed at the end of 2018. About 90% of the old pub was demolished to make way for the new 140-seater restaurant. It also features a function room, balcony and outdoor terrace, reports Examiner Live. The menu at the Mirfield Capri reflects the same traditional Italian dishes that are available at the restaurants in Headingley, Horbury and Wakefield. Karami, who launched Capri almost 25 years ago, is now planning to open his next restaurant, in Newmillerdam near Wakefield. Previously he owned Cagneys nightclub in nearby Dewsbury and before that a catering business in Ravensthorpe.

Five Guys and Wagamama sign up for Scotch Corner Designer Village: Better burger brand Five Guys and The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama have signed up to open sites at Scotch Corner Designer Village in North Yorkshire. Wagamama and Five Guys have agreed to open 4,200 and 2,800 square foot restaurants respectively at the scheme near Richmond, which will open in autumn 2021. Further specially designed leisure and sporting facilities are in the pipeline and will be unveiled over the coming months. Simon Waterfield, developer and co-owner of Scotch Corner Richmond, said: “We are on track to open the leading outlet retail and leisure destination in the north of England in 2021 and are also proud to be championing local brands and businesses and offering our future customers exciting outlet brands to discover.”
Lussmanns to open in former Carluccio’s Oxford site this week for first venue outside Hertfordshire: Lussmanns Fish & Grill, the independent brasserie group backed by investor Luke Johnson, is to open its first venue outside its Hertfordshire heartland and sixth in total this week. Lussmanns is launching in the former Carluccio's premises in Oxford’s Little Clarendon Street on Thursday (5 March). Carluccio’s closed last month, though staff were offered positions at Lussmanns, saving their jobs. Lussmanns has been seeking sites outside Hertfordshire since May. Its restaurants are in Harpenden, Hertford, Hitchin, St Albans and Tring. Founder Andrei Lussmann told the Oxford Mail: “The restaurant in Little Clarendon Street is the perfect site because it’s in a classic university city. It has the right heritage, the right demographic and the right tradition that sits well with Lussmanns. It’s a city that aligns itself very similarly to St Albans, albeit bigger. It’s always been on our wish-list to get out of Hertfordshire and Oxford is the perfect place.” As previously reported, Carluccio’s said it was searching for larger premises in the city that can accommodate its Fresca redesign.
McDonald's debuts triple cheeseburger in UK: McDonald's has made a new addition to its menu, debuting a triple cheeseburger in 60 of its UK stores. The company will introduce the burger all its sites later this year, if the trial is successful, reports The Daily Mail. The triple cheeseburger is made up of three patties stacked between three cheese slices, served in a bun with mustard, gherkins, onions and ketchup, and is priced at £2.39, depending on the branch. A McDonald's double cheeseburger typically costs £1.69. The slightly more expensive new triple cheeseburger, which is already available across the US, has 520 calories. According to BurgerLad, this isn't the first time McDonald's has offered its customers a triple cheeseburger. The review website claimed the meaty burger was available to buy in 1994 during the World Cup, under the name The Hat Trick.
Oxfordshire hotel sold out of administration off £4.8m guide price: The Manor hotel in Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, has been sold off a guide price of £4.8m. The sale, to a private purchaser, was negotiated by Colliers International, which was acting on behalf of administrators at Moorfields Advisory. The 32-bedroom, grade II-listed hotel, which has origins dating to the Doomsday Book, had continued to trade fully while in administration. It has been purchased as a going concern with all employees retained. The Manor is to undergo extensive refurbishment and redecoration under its new owner, which will include the construction of an orangery overlooking the 12-acre gardens, with space for about 160 covers. Development director Khalid Undre, who will lead the renovation programme, said: “Although The Manor has been rescued from administration, it’s now essential to secure its future. This will be done by drawing on the heritage of this beautiful property and enhancing features to elevate the experience of guests.” Peter Brunt, director in the hotels agency team at Colliers International, added: “This is a magnificent property and it generated a huge number of enquiries from around the world resulting in a very competitive tender process. Colliers has been left with a number of highly-motivated buyers with significant available cash, many from overseas, looking to buy similar hotels in the region.”
Team behind Liverpool bar to open second site: The team behind Harrison’s Bar & Kitchen in Liverpool is to open a second site in the city. It will launch Abbey Road Bar & Kitchen at what was The Pen & Wig pub in Harrington Street at the end of March. General manager Brandon Soprano said: “We are looking forward to rejuvenating an iconic old site among Liverpool’s pubs and bars with a new concept in the heart of the business district. Our food menu is currently in planning and will be something we will offer on a daily basis, changing each season.” Harrison’s Bar & Kitchen opened on the corner of North John Street and Victoria Street last year.
Bear to open sixth site, in Northwich next month: Midlands-based cafe bar concept Bear is to open its sixth site, in Northwich, Cheshire, next month. The company will launch the outlet on Thursday, 16 April at the Barons Quay shopping centre. Bear will operate a counter-service coffee house, kitchen and bar. Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley founded Bear five years ago inspired by Australia’s coffee shop culture to create a speciality coffee, casual dining and craft cocktail offer for the UK market. They plan to take the portfolio to 30 outlets in the next five years. The business currently operates two venues in Derby and one each in Stone and Uttoxeter. It also operates a concession in London, which moved to below stationery company Paperchase’s headquarters in Tottenham Court Road last month following the closure of the Jack Wills store in Soho.
Nottingham-based Indian street food restaurant to open second site: Nottingham-based Rikshaw Urban Indian Kitchen is to open a second site. Owner Shani Shafiq will launch the restaurant at Intu Derby in April offering street food staples such as curry, chaat and grilled dishes. Adam Tamsett, general manager of Intu Derby, told The Business Desk: “Rikshaw Urban Indian Kitchen’s award-winning food is the perfect accompaniment to the centre’s wide range of food options.” Rikshaw Urban Indian Kitchen’s other site is in Mansfield Road, Nottingham.

Norwich-based chefs partner to launch Chicken Inn concept as they eye debut pub: Norwich-based chef proprietors Roger Hickman, of fine-dining restaurant Hickman’s, and Andy Rudd, of contemporary eaterie Stoke Mill, are planning to take over a historic pub in the city for their new venture, The Chicken Inn. The pair have submitted plans to take over the listed Micawbers Tavern in Pottergate, the Eastern Daily Press reports. Hickman invested £500,000 last year in a new private dining area next to his restaurant having purchased the freehold to the listed building’s ground floor in 2012. He bought the remaining two floors in late 2017 to use the space for private dining and staff accommodation. Rudd won the Norfolk Food & Drink Award in his first year at Stoke Mill.
Edinburgh-based brewery Campervan to open bar with ‘UK’s first oak barrel-aging facility’: Edinburgh-based brewery Campervan is to open a craft beer bar and fermentaria in Leith this week. The Lost in Leith bar, which launches on Saturday (7 March) will also be home to the brewery's barrel-aging project. Set within an old whisky bond, the Commercial Quay venue is thought to be the first craft beer bar that will include an-on-site oak barrel-aging facility in the UK. Much like its taproom at the brewery, the bar will be community-focused. It will have 18 taps and a selection of bottles and cans as well as locally sourced spirits and wine. Campervan founder Paul Gibson told the Edinburgh Evening News: “We believe we are the first bar in the UK to have a dedicated area to show people how we age beer in oak barrels. We plan to mature our beer in the Foeders as it’s a traditional method of brewing which is very environmentally friendly with minimal intervention. Many of these beers will sit in there for more than a year, developing a depth of flavour from carefully grown microbes and wild yeasts. Over the course of the next few months we plan to introduce our fermented foods, which we’ll pair up with local produce and showcase these with our beer and wine pairings.”
West Yorkshire members’ club to launch following £450,000 investment: Following a six-month refurbishment and a £450,000 investment, Empire House in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, will reopen as a business members’ club and work space later this year. Dating to 1892, the 6,000 square foot building was originally a town hall and offers 13 offices as well as the members’ club with wine and coffee bars. Entrepreneur Amy Byram, who is leading the development, told BDaily: “With the look, brand, space and facilities, Empire House is a scheme that, to our knowledge, will be unique in the region. It will be an environment for people with great expectations – and we are setting the bar high.”

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