The group will redevelop the German Gymnasium, a Grade II-listed building that dates back to 1865 and is now in a prominent location at the southern gateway to the 67-acre King’s Cross development.
With design work planned to start later this year, the grand and elegant building is set to be sensitively converted by D&D London into a new destination with a complex of restaurants, bars and private rooms with extensive outdoor terraces.
Concepts are still to be developed but the ground floor will contain a 150-cover stand-alone brasserie and a “glamorous” bar with outdoor terraces seating up to 70.
Upstairs on the mezzanine level, a smaller restaurant and an elegant private dining room will overlook the brasserie below.
Originally designed by Edward Gruning, it was first built for the German Gymnastics Society, with the ground floor used as an exercise hall where long-forgotten sports were practised including club swinging and broadsword practice.
It was the first purpose-built gymnasium of its type in England and was used as a venue for the first National Olympic Games a year after construction in 1866. More recently, the building has been used as offices, storage and an arts and exhibition space.
Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive of D&D London, said: “This is a remarkable building and part of what is a remarkable development. Our aim is to create restaurants and bars that make the most of what is a stunning interior with its 57ft floor-to-ceiling height.
“The venues will be high quality but have a broad appeal. Our plan is to have restaurants that are open all day, seven days a week.
“King’s Cross today is perhaps the most exciting emerging area of London in terms of new development. We have watched and admired King’s Cross coming to life and are very excited to become part of it.”
Richard Poyser from Argent (King’s Cross), the asset manager at King’s Cross, added: “D&D are integral to London’s restaurant scene, in which King’s Cross is playing an ever-growing part. D&D have the experience, attitude and design flair to get the most from this amazing historic building in this fantastic location.”
The opening of the new German Gymnasium is set for spring 2015. Design and food concepts will be revealed “in due course”.
D&D London owns and operates over 30 leading restaurants and bars in the UK, Paris, New York and Tokyo including South Place Hotel, Le Pont de la Tour, Coq d’Argent, Bluebird and Skylon in London and Angelica in Leeds.
The 67-acre King’s Cross development will feature 20 new and refurbished office buildings, nearly 2,000 new homes, and shops restaurants. After a decade of planning, the first phase is open and includes restaurants, bars and hotels such as Grain Store, Great Northern Hotel and Caravan.