Arc Inspirations secures new bank finance for expansion


manahatta artists Caulder Moore Design

Leeds-based bar operator Arc Inspirations is set to open more venues after receiving £3million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial.

The new finance will support new sites such as the New York City-themed bar Manahatta (pictured), which is due to open on November 8 in Merrion Street, Leeds, plus more planned for 2015.

Based on Arc Inspirations’ successful business model of providing “a wide range of premium-quality food and drinks in exceptional environments”, its strategy is to open five to 10 new units over the next five years.

Established in 1999 by Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft, it now owns and operates 11 bars throughout Yorkshire employing over 500 people. Turnover is forecast to increase by 65% to £18million this financial year, boosted by the success of The Pit sites opened in Harrogate, Leeds city centre and Chapel Allerton and the opening of Banyan in York.

Andy Whelan, finance director for Arc Inspirations, said: “The business has had a fantastic performance over its first 15 years, growing to 11 units with no external funds.

“Based on our strong and proven business model, we now believe the time is right to work with Santander to accelerate our expansion.

“Our team is focused on delivering quality experiences to our customers and we are pleased to have Santander on board as they recognised the strength of our business immediately when delivering a complete funding package within a very quick timeframe.”

Tavia Sparks, relationship director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Arc decided the time was right for further investment to grow the business.

“Arc is a highly professional and progressive business and an excellent example of a Yorkshire company which has maintained a strong portfolio, even during challenging economic times.

“The growth achieved is a testament to the commitment and ambition of Chris and Martin and we are excited to support the business as it grows further.”

martin wolstencroft manahatta

Manahatta will be located on two floors over 9,000 square feet, with a stunning interior by Caulder Moore Design that combines chic with industrial.

It will offer a range of cocktails, a varied wine list and an extensive food menu, inspired by the diverse food offering of New York City. The bar team plans to reinvent cocktail classics with a twist of glamour.

On the ground floor, the décor will provide a view of the original bowed-shaped ceiling of what was formerly the auditorium of the 1920s Tower Cinema. There will also be a long feature bar, open kitchen, raised areas and cosy booths. Additional architectural aspects will include a feature staircase to the first floor with an island bar, with more booths and private areas.

Martin, who is managing director and pictured above promoting the new bar, said: “Work is ahead of schedule and Manahatta is close to completion. We see this 9,000 sq ft venue as a major destination for the city of Leeds and a milestone for Arc Inspirations – it’s the 12th in our portfolio, our largest site to date and our biggest investment of more than £1.5m.

“Manahatta is a state of mind, and we’re looking forward to providing just that – a unique experience in drinking and dining within a relaxed atmosphere with great music and more than a hint of glamour.

“Quality in all remains at the forefront and we can’t wait to show what we’re all about on 8 November when we open to the public.”

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