Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Portico Could Become a Port of Call for Bubbly

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Portico Could Become a Port of Call for Bubbly

Article excerpt

Byline: Coreena Ford Business writer @Scoopford

AGRAND scheme to create a champagne bar and real ale retreat inside Newcastle Central Station's glazed portico has been proposed by the leisure firm behind the successful Hadrian's Tipi attraction.

The leisure arm of Newcastlebased Danieli Holdings is in discussions to create Portico Market, a PS300,000 project which would see the firm take on half of the glazed entrance to the station and transform it into a warm and vibrant haven for tourists and locals.

Up to 35 new jobs would be created if the plans are approved and directors say it could become a destination venue in its own right, as well as providing a stop-off for the millions of travellers who pass through the station every year.

Detailed plans show how the area could be transformed into a concept taking inspiration from the likes of Fenwick Food Hall and contemporary markets like Brough Market in London.

Heated seating booths, bar service or waitress service, live music and food platters would be on offer in two zones, potentially called Bubbles Bar and Real Ale Retreat.

Danieli Holdings chief executive Neill Winch and business development director Nigel Holliday drew up the proposals following the success of Hadrian's Tipi, which attracted 118,000 visitors in just eight weeks over the festive period.

There is also scope to include a pop-up florist and to provide a tourist information point, where visitors can pick up details on the region's attractions, as well as a pop-up shop selling local produce.

A small stage is also included in the plans, where live acoustic acts and pianists could play regularly. The whole area has room for up to 160 people and a pavement terrace could also feature.

Mr Winch said: "We're looking to create a similar experience as Hadrian's Tipi.

"These are just proposals as they stand, subject to planning and licensing approval, but Virgin has been very supportive and we hope that the council will be supportive." Danieli Holdings is the parent group for a range of firms led by Mr Winch operating in the care, security, leisure and property development sectors, and the chief executive is supported by his business partner Steve Howe, who is MD of the security division. …

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