ISG creates £12 million dining destination in Exeter

ISG has been awarded a £12 million project with Aviva Investors to create a unique dining destination in the heart of Exeter. The project sees the redevelopment of the neo-classical Guildhall in the city’s cultural quarter into a series of high-specification artisan restaurants, as well as the reconfiguration and improvement of public realm space.

Further strengthening ISG’s existing relationship with Aviva Investors, this latest scheme involves the transformation of the 36,500 sq ft site, which encompasses the iconic 19th century Queen Street façade of the Guildhall, the 13th century St Pancras Church and the impressive barrel-vaulted Queen Street Ambulatory. Queen Street Dining at Guildhall is an ambitious development that builds upon the success of Exeter’s burgeoning cultural quarter and will act as the catalyst for further investment in the city’s evening and night time economy.

The complex, multi-phased project, designed by architects BDP, will be delivered while the popular Guild Hall Shopping Centre and public realm space remains open. Retaining and conserving the Queen Street façade, ISG will carefully install piled foundations to support a two-storey steel frame superstructure to house the new restaurant facilities. The company will also strip out and reconfigure an existing concrete framed retail unit, extend the building by a further storey and form a roof top terraced area for diners.

Simon Green, Associate Director of Aviva Investors said:

“We at Aviva Investors are really delighted to have formally signed contacts with our partners ISG so work can now fully commence on creating Exeter’s new dining quarter at Queen St. With the early preparatory works complete, people will start to notice the transformation taking place with the arrival of the full ISG team along with cranes and other equipment, all whilst ensuring shoppers can still fully enjoy visiting the shopping centre.”

To create an attractive and multi-functional public realm space, Aviva Investors has sought to create three distinct public square areas. This large space will be comprehensively upgraded and ISG will reconfigure the existing landscaping design, installing a high quality granite surface with amphitheatre-style seating steps. An additional two pedestrian link bridges will be installed to enhance accessibility to the heart of Queen Street Dining at Guildhall.

Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director of Exeter City Council welcomed the news, he said:

“We are working hard to build the city’s evening and night time economy and we welcome this significant investment from Aviva Investors to create Queen St Dining. I believe Queen St will be a brilliant addition to the city’s culinary offer and further strengthen the appeal of the city centre.”

Aviva Investors recently announced Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay as one of the Queen St Dining’s first tenants, more names will be released in the coming weeks as leases are signed.

Rob Martin, ISG’s Western regional managing director, commented:

“Our latest project for Aviva Investors will transform and reinvigorate this important cultural area in central Exeter. The scheme brings real cohesion to this busy location, creating a dining destination that unifies the historic and modern built environment at Queen Street. This is a keynote regeneration project and we’re delighted to be playing an important role delivering such an exciting vision for Exeter’s future.”