The great North East makeover

Strategic investments in high-potential buildings have enabled the Malhotra Group to increase its turnover year-on-year, as the company continues to play an active part in enriching Tyne and Wear’s social, community, and leisure infrastructure

Strong family values and ethics have carried the Malhotra Group forward in the nearly three decades of its existence. Coupled with its astuteness in successfully predicting industry trends and making wise investments, the company has emerged as a leading real estate developer in the North East of England, stacking in its portfolio a respectable number of banks, care homes, hotels, restaurants, and bars. Indicative of the good times the business is enjoying, is the increase in turnover it registered in the past year, when the Malhotra Group took its turnover up from £24 million to £32 million. Split into three divisions – Property, Care and Leisure – the company continuously expands these, with new property development projects regularly added to its workload.

One of the most remarkable programmes the business has set out to complete, is the building of a £35 million 120-bedroom, four-star hotel with a rooftop swimming pool, a nightclub, restaurants, and retail outlets on Grey Street, in Newcastle city centre. Seen as the jewel in the crown of Malhotra Group’s impressive property portfolio, the Grey Street scheme is projected to become a visitor attraction in its own right, while playing a vital role in the local economy by creating a significant number of jobs.

After years of acquiring a number of buildings around Grey Street with a view to creating the hotel, the Malhotra Group has now revised its original idea, developing it to encompass a total of nine existing buildings. The site will stretch from Grey Street down to its junction with Mosley Street and across to the lower part of Cloth Market, and will include the famous Balmbra’s Music Hall at the Cloth Market, which is being restored to its original identity as part of the project. According to the scheme timeline, the leisure complex should open by the end of 2020 and its developers promise a design that will stay in line with Grey Street’s historic façade. The development will also strengthen the Malhotra Group’s foothold on Newcastle’s finest street, where it already operates the boutique Grey Street Hotel, which recently underwent a £1.2 million refurbishment.

With such considerable investment in Grey Street – one of the finest Regency streets in Britain – perhaps it was inevitable that Malhotra Group plc might consolidate its commitment by relocating there. And, following the £4m purchase of 42-50 Grey Street, that is very much the intention.

Its aim is to relocate head office staff from its existing city centre sites, at Groat Market and at Scottish Provident House, into the office accommodation on the upper two vacant floors above Zizzis Restaurant. The move is expected to take place at the end of the year, following a full refurbishment of all the three, upper office accommodation floors and of the ground floor entrance area. When complete the building will be renamed Malhotra House and the address listed as 50 Grey Street.

Landmark projects
The Jesmond Block Development in Newcastle is another ongoing landmark project for the Malhotra Group, the first of its four phases recently completed. During it, a new restaurant – El Paso, opened to replace Scalinis Jesmond after the latter had been in operation for 20 years. As the name indicates, the new venue offers dishes from the Spanish and Mexican cuisines. Using only the highest-quality ingredients, El Paso’s chefs produce food that stimulates all the senses, perfectly reflecting the vitality of Mexico and Latin America.

In the second phase of the Jesmond Block Development, what was once the Louis restaurant will be transformed into a multi-purpose gaming bar, called Eat, Chill, Play. The redevelopment will include a cinema, a two-lane bowling alley, as well as football tables, targeting customers of all ages. Then, El Paso’s Ariba Bar will be transformed into a decadent gin bar – Jesmond Gin House, throughout the third phase of the scheme, and, finally, the Malhotra Group-operated New Northumbria Hotel will see a complete remodelling and refurbishment of its entire rear elevation. The expansion will create 13 new apartment rooms and suites, some of which will be equipped with a kitchen and dining area, as well as a new wedding suite. Furthermore, a number of the existing bedrooms will receive a full refurbishment upgrade, including a new bathroom suite and décor.

Not far from Jesmond, in the neighbouring Newcastle suburb of Gosforth, work is already underway on an 18-month, £5.6m project to transform a well-known pub, The Three Mile Inn, into a 64-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant. The development comprises three main phases, beginning with the construction of a three-story extension, which will ultimately provide additional accommodation for the hotel. Further phases will include the conversion of the existing building from two to three storeys and the creation of conference, function and private dining facilities, a residents’ lounge, café, bar and restaurant.

An estimated 25 jobs will be created when work is complete and the Malhotra family, who have strong links to Gosforth, hope that as well as welcoming leisure and corporate guests, the venue will become a much-used community hub for neighbouring families.

In October 2018 work begins on the Malhotra Group’s latest contract win in the leisure sector; a £100,000 redevelopment of Pumphrey’s Bar, part of a wider £3.2 million regeneration programme designed to reinvigorate Newcastle’s Bigg Market. Pumphrey’s, which occupies a Grade II listed building, will be remodelled with new signage and the installation of new window frames, as well as a general cleaning up of the exterior of the building in an attempt to restore it to its former glory.

Care home projects
Three major programmes are also underway for Malhotra Group’s Care division. Albeit still at a very early stage, Beech Tree House will be the business’ new, purpose-built, 86-bed care home, located at the site of Alnwick’s former bus depot. A state-of-the-art facility, it will provide nursing and residential care, catering for young physically disabled (YPD), bariatric, and dementia, as well as general nursing residents. As it stands now, the foundations, below ground drainage, and the lower ground floor have already been constructed, the steelwork frame has been completed and blockwork has progressed to the first-floor level. Slowly taking its shape, the building is the largest care home the group is working on at present.

Just three beds shorter of what Beech Tree House will be able to offer, Bay View House in Whitley Bay is the second key care home development undertaken by the Malhotra Group. The building will be located in place of the former Rex Hotel and will feature dining, leisure, treatment, administration, and support facilities.

Lastly, the brand-new, two-storey, 66-bedroom Bede House care home in Ryhope, Sunderland completes the trio of large-scale projects currently implemented by the company. Now that certain site clearance works have been undertaken, including the demolition of a former C of E school and the removal of playgrounds, walls and levels have been reduced and new drain diversion is about to commence, as the scheme is picking up pace.

Balanced portfolio
Naturally, the ambitious developments the Malhotra Group is engaged with, will open multiple jobs across the various facilities. In fact, the company has clearly stated its intention to grow its workforce from 1200 to 1800 staff over the next five years. Considering the fact that the organisation reported an increase in its headcount by 116 in 2017, there is no reason to doubt the achievability of its objective. Its successful completion will once again underline the ever-growing role the group is playing in boosting the local economy and nourishing the local community of the Tyne and Wear county.

Having a well-diversified business has yet again proved to be the right model for the Malhotra Group, given the positive financial results the company registered last year. Maintaining a balanced portfolio of care home facilities, leisure sites, and geographically spread investment properties, the company is facing excellent prospects to continue its growth through careful strategies and forward-thinking management in the years to come.