THE company that owns and operates the Trof bar chain has taken on the former Green Room unit on Whitworth Street West and the Albert Hall inside Brannigans, on Peter Street.
Joel Wilkinson, the managing director of Zecol Ltd, told Confidential the Green Room could be open by April with the Albert Hall following in 2013.
"It's a music hall with a chapel above it. It's an amazing building. We're looking to turn it into a restaurant and bar - a bigger version of what we already do."
"We signed the paperwork on the Green Room a couple of weeks ago, we just need to strip it back and refurb it," he said.
"We need to decide on the look and feel we're going to give the place, although it won't be radically different to the rest of the Trof bars. We just need to tweak it a bit.
"We're planning to turn it into a bar, cafe and restaurant venue with live music - similar to the Deaf Institute."
Wilkinson said the building was in good condition aside from "a few leaks here and there".
Zecol has also taken the lease for the Albert Hall, inside the now closed Brannigan's unit on Peter Street.
"It's a fantastic space that hasn't really been used for 60 years," he said.
"It's a music hall with a chapel above it. It's an amazing building. Again, we're looking to turn it into a restaurant and bar - a bigger version of what we already do."
Wilkinson said he hoped the move would kickstart the rest of Peter Street, which has been littered with vacant units for several years. One national bar chain is understood to be looking at the former Square bar unit nearby.
"It just needs a bit of a kickstart," he said. "I think a couple of the units are being looked at but the area needs to become something different from what it was a few years ago."
Wilkinson also said the firm was pressing ahead with plans to convert the basement of Quay House on Quay Street into a bar, club and exhibition venue, which could also open before the summer.
"It took a year longer than we wanted but we're hoping that could open in April too," he said.
Another recent aquisition, The Salutation, off Oxford Road, is also undergoing a refurbishment to bring five guest bedrooms back into use.
"We'd like to be able to operate that as a cross between a hotel, a hostel and a bed and breakfast," he said. "We had a good Christmas there and it's going well."
The expansion will mean an investment of more than £1m for Zecol, although Wilkinson said there are no plans to sell off any of its existing bars to help pay for it.
"We're not selling the Fallowfield bar," he said. "All these plans are three years in the making. We've just been on the hunt for good venues really but I think we're done for now."
If you want to see some pictures of the inside of the Albert Hall, there are some here, on the rather wonderful blog goneeightyfive, run by a group of people who like getting on top of or inside buildings they shouldn't.
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