Pandemic leads to re-design for McGoff Group’s Market 41 development
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The McGoff Group has re-designed its eagerly awaited Market 41 food hall concept to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for both business and leisure in a post-COVID world.
With rays of light emerging for the UK’s hospitality industry, the award winning Altrincham-based developer has re-worked its plans for the contemporary food hall on Railway Road in Urmston to ensure the scheme can function viably, and with minimal operational risk, as the world moves towards a new normal way of meeting and socialising when restrictions are lifted.
Months of planning, evaluation and assessment work have gone into the re-design and it is hoped that the new scheme can be submitted for planning in the next couple of weeks.
In keeping with the original theme, the new concept still retains a food hall at its heart but has been re-worked with modular units to ensure a clearer distinction between the individual operators and more outdoor space to enable social distancing rules to be easily observed.
The ground floor will feature an exciting mix of food and beverage units with the addition of beauty and lifestyle market stalls, dedicated space for regular pop-ups and all-season cover for artisan markets and events.
Further restaurants and café bar operators will be located on the first floor along with private dining rooms, boutique event spaces and a selection of offices, studios and workshops offering flexible options for local start-ups looking for a dedicated workspace away from the home environment.
A new addition to the previous concept is the proposal to include 30 ‘hands free’ hotel-style bedrooms on the top floor along with several further stunning open air event spaces. Demand for this type of contactless overnight accommodation, with keyless self check-in operated via smart phone apps, has surged during the pandemic and it is anticipated that this is set to continue as certain sectors within the economy re-open for business once again.
Accommodation of this kind would also enhance and further complement the offer at Market 41, attracting a discerning client base of weekend-breakers who would appreciate the opportunity to explore the wider local area while staying at an exciting food and beverage-led destination.
Director at the McGoff Group, Chris McGoff, said: “The way in which we conduct our day-to-day working lives and spend our leisure time has been re-set for the foreseeable future, forcing us not only to re-think how Market 41 will function in a post-pandemic world, but also how best to future-proof the concept against unforeseeable operational risk should further restrictions or lockdowns present themselves.
“With an end date for the lockdown in sight, it was time to re-focus our efforts on how best to deliver this exciting new urban food and drink-led destination to ensure it is financially viable, income generative and can function at some level, whatever the future holds.”
He added: “We have explored different ways to enable the project to be delivered in phases so that as the economy gradually recovers and the project builds momentum we can flex by adding additional elements of the proposed offer.
“Conversely, if lockdowns reoccur and the economy contracts, elements of the project can effectively be put into hibernation without having major long term consequences.”
With so much excitement built up for the project in Urmston, the McGoff Group has given careful thought to how the development can best serve the local community.
In addition to job creation and an exciting food and drink offer that will attract footfall to Urmston from the wider local area, Market 41 will benefit the community by offering a modern socially distanced space for work and meetings, indoor and outdoor spaces for special occasions and events and unique self contained pods for those looking to work outside of home without returning to the city centre.
Mr McGoff said: “Working practices have changed and city centre commutes are set to be less frequent.
“But people will still want a stimulating space with a great F&B offer for meetings, after work drinks and catching up with friends.
“We will actively encourage the local professional services and creative sectors to use this environment for relaxed meetings in the food hall or more formal ones in the designated boardrooms, while at the same time availing of the market’s super food offering.”
Market 41 will be a key area of focus for the McGoff Group in 2021 and one that the company remains excited about, despite having had to significantly re-work the original concept to ensure it can be viably delivered in potentially uncertain post-COVID times.
“Refocussing our efforts on reassessing the project to ensure it is future proof has taken some time, but we are now confident that we have a business model that is fit-for-purpose and deliverable and look forward for re-submitting it for planning in the not too distant future,” said McGoff.
Located on Railway Road in the centre of Urmston, Market 41 will also boast exemplary environmental and sustainability credentials, including a vertical farming installation, food composting and nutrient re-cycling and in-house local food delivery by bicycle.