The 'shocked' traders given one month to say goodbye to popular Manchester food and drink hub

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Hatch is due to close down and redevelopment plans are in the works – here’s what we know about them.

Last Friday, the traders at Hatch, a popular food and drink hub in Manchester city centre, were called into a meeting and told that the venue had been sold and that they had one month to vacate their premises.

This came as a shock to the independent traders, some of whom only operate out of Hatch and have no other sites. It was also a surprise to the customers, who found out about the announcement via an Instagram post from the Hatch account later that same day.

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The post explained that the site, currently owned by Manchester-based commercial property company Bruntwood, is being taken over and expanded by Stack, which runs similar venues in the North East. It went on to say that Hatch in its current form will close on 30 September and is due to reopen late 2024 under new management. Only the ÖL Brewery will remain open during this process.

Hatch on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre is due to close down on September. Hatch on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre is due to close down on September.
Hatch on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre is due to close down on September. | ManchesterWorld

According to the post, the existing traders will get priority refusal on the units as Stack gets up and running, but as one vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, told Manchester World: “What does that mean, I don’t know.”

They continued: “ I think there was a more humane way of doing it than how they have done it. A month is just not long to find new premises. It takes a lot longer than that. Especially if places have got staff. It’s not just a case of us saying that they can go to the other sites. People’s livelihoods were not considered when they did this.

“Even if they’d said three months or something, it would have been easier to move to another place. But I think the frustration is that they were still taking sites on.”

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Sorry to see it go

Since the news broke on Friday, some of the traders have started posting their farewells and thank yous to customers online, encouraging them to continue to support their fellow traders in the run up to the closure date. While this is a sad time for many of them, they are also hopeful about their next steps, and customers have been quick to show their support in the comment sections.

A post on the Parmogeddon Instagram page said: “We’ve spent the past 4 years building our business in Hatch and we are absolutely gutted to be losing our home at such short notice.

“That being said, we’ve managed to get through lockdowns and continue to push through the current climate and we are confident we will get through this. Please come down and support all of the independents on site over the next few weeks, we need you now more than ever.”

Dessert spot Crumbled posted: “As you have probably heard- unfortunately @hatchmcr will be closing down and taking new ownership. It is a shame we have been given just one month notice from @bruntwood vacate the premises BUT we are on the hunt for a new location ASAP!

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“We will be closing down in hatch on 30th September so please show your support for this final month with all vendors in hatch. We thankyou for your continued support where ever we go and will keep you updated with where our new site will be! Maybe it’s our calling to open a permanent site.”

Indo-Pakistani fusion cuisine spot Pukht, which is opening another site in Cheshire, also addressed Hatch’s closure via their Instagram page. One post read: “We had so so many plans to introduce new dishes this month, welcoming new students to #manchester and @hatchmcr but it’s not meant to be. We won’t let this sudden end to Hatch ruin your enjoyment of the food and vibes we provide with our fellow traders.”

Community hub

Manchester has several food hall-style venues now, with multiple traders under one roof (or in this case – the Mancunian Way), but Hatch was among the first, having first opened its doors in 2017.

It began with a handful of food and drink vendors housed in self-contained shipping container units and has since expanded to include other businesses, such as a nail salon, a barbers, a tailor, a DJ school, to name but a few. It also has a central performance area that has hosted a variety of local musicians and events.

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Over the years it has also developed into a community hub for both traders and customers alike. It is surrounded by Manchester’s university campuses and it is also located on one of the busiest roads.

One trader told Manchester World: “The traders are lovely, it seems to be a really good community. Some of the traders have been here quite a long time and I think everyone was equally as shocked. I think there were a few people who expected that Bruntwood would sell Hatch, that there would basically be a new landlord and we could carry on trading -- which obviously isn’t the case.”

Manchester’s night time economy tsar Sacha Lord has also weighed in on what has happened to Hatch. The Parklife boss has been a visible supporter of the region’s hospitality industry, most recently footing everyone’s bill at the Thirsty Korean restaurant in Chorlton for a whole day. In a tweet posted on 1 September, he offered all Hatch staff jobs at Warehouse Project, commenting that “a month’s notice simply isn’t good enough. Very poor.”

He posted a second tweet on Tuesday 5 September, saying that he has written to the developers, urging them to extend the notice period to 31 December. “It gives them enough time to plan and trade through a busy period leading up to Xmas,” he added.

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What have Bruntwood said?

Manchester World reached out to Bruntwood and they referred us to a statement they released on 1 September.

Peter Bearpark, asset management director at Bruntwood, said: “We are incredibly proud of what we accomplished at Hatch. Originally conceived as an idea for how to utilise unused space while Circle Square was in development, it has been a success in terms of the vision we set out for it – supporting start-up businesses, allowing brands to experiment, grow and thrive, and creating a place for people to enjoy excellent food, drink and shopping.

Hatch on Manchester’s Oxford Road is due to close on 30 September. Hatch on Manchester’s Oxford Road is due to close on 30 September.
Hatch on Manchester’s Oxford Road is due to close on 30 September. | ManchesterWorld

“It’s always hard to say goodbye to a site that we are proud of, but now is the right time for Stack to take it to the next stage in its development.”

What is Stack?

Stack is a leisure company founded in Newcastle. They have one site in Seaburn, Sunderland, and are also developing sites in Durham, Whitley Bay, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Lincoln, Northampton, and Carlisle, along with a new Tyneside home.

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Like Hatch, Stack features multiple food and drink vendors on one site, centred around a performance area and large screen for events. They are also constructed out of shipping containers.

Neill Winch, CEO of STACK, said: “STACK is delighted to bring its successful leisure brand to Manchester and continue the fantastic work that Bruntwood has started at Hatch in creating a place for businesses to grow and thrive - something that we are also very passionate about.

“We have a proven track record in providing venues which bring together the very best in street food, bars and we are also renowned for delivering a full programme of live entertainment for people of all ages, which has been a huge part of our success and an element we are looking forward to elevating in Manchester.

“This location is the perfect fit for us, and we look forward to building on the great work Hatch has already done and taking it to the next level under the STACK brand.

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“STACK is already a proven concept which has had huge success in its native North East, in both Sunderland and Newcastle and is currently developing a whole host of new sites across the country. It operates as both a visitor attraction and a much-loved facility for local residents and we look forward to showing Manchester what we have to offer.”

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