The first business to move to the iconic Beales building in downtown Bolton can be opened early next year. JOSEPH TIMAN reports about retailers who are ready for business in a historic building.
Two businesses can move to the former Beales department store in early March next year.
A new dessert restaurant is one of the retailers that can be opened in a historic building if the application is approved.
Men's clothing retailers Slaters will also move from their current location on Oxford Street to a neighboring unit in the former department store in April.
READ MORE: History of the city's iconic Beales building
Beales, which operates from the Grade II registered building, was closed on New Year's Eve almost two years ago and has been empty since then.
A planning application for change of use on the ground floor section of a retail store to a dessert cafe has now been submitted to the council.
The applicant, Ish Ahmed from Great Harwood in Lancashire, is a franchisee who wants to open the 12th Heavenly Dessert dining room in England.
If approved, a new dessert shop can create 10 to 15 new jobs in the city center.
The application states: "Heavenly dessert restaurants are very popular and will be a good addition to the city."
The menu, which is described as "irresistible, elegant and innovative", includes Ferrero Rocher Cookie Dough, Blueberry Maple Syrup Pancakes and Brownie Explosions.
The proposed unit will occupy a 156 square meter space in the northwest corner of the building, with windows overlooking Deansgate and Howell Croft North.
No external changes are proposed except for new signs that promise to be sensitive to the style and history of the building.
Opening hours for the new dessert laundry room will be 11am to 11pm without evening opening or alcohol served.
No cooking will be done on the site other than making crepes and waffles.
The internal area of the unit will be complemented by Heavenly Desserts as part of their "luxury dessert experience".
Heavenly Desserts opened their first store more than 10 years ago in Derby and had other outlets in Blackburn, Preston and Liverpool.
Further outlets will also be opened in Manchester, Chester and Sheffield.
According to the planning application, the housing agent said that the unit had been marketed for 18 months.
Adil Bashir, the project designer at Plan It Design, who submitted an application on behalf of Mr. Ahmed, said that, if approved, the cafe would open in the first quarter of next year.
He said: "I will say March or April as a target. They move quickly. They are the pioneers of the concept of a dessert hall. "
The Bolton Slaters branch will also move to the iconic building next year with the handover of the unit expected to take place in February.
Staff members at men's clothing retailers on Oxford Street have told customers that the move will be completed in April.
Slater Menswear is a family business that began in 1904 in Glasgow by Samuel Slater, now run by his grandson, Paul Slater, who is the managing director of the company.
UK-based retailers have 26 stores throughout England, Wales and Scotland including in Preston, Manchester and Liverpool.
Chief executive of Bolton Civic Trust, Richard Shirres, welcomed the news that the business might move into the historic building adding that it must be done sensitively.
He said: "We welcome buildings that have been overhauled. This is a valuable building for the city center. We welcome it because it means the building is preserved. "