A DERELICT restaurant at a Grade II listed former marble works is to be re-opened – by the same family which shut up shop there 13 years ago.
Up to 25 new jobs could be created when the Nawab Balti House in Parliament Street, Lancaster, re-opens this summer following restoration work.
It was first opened by Khalid, Wajid and Abid Hussain in 1990, and was later leased out to other family members.
The restaurant closed in 1998 when they decided to pursue other interests in their home city of Bradford.
Since then the property has fallen into disrepair and has become an eyesore on a main gateway out of the city.
But the family retained ownership of the property and the Hussains are now planning to restore and re-open the restaurant with their nephews Ziggy and Dilly Mohammed, who will be deputy manager and manager respectively.
The upper floor will be converted to provide accommodation for the family.
“Whenever we came back to Lancaster to check on the property we would see all the old faces and they would say ‘the Nawab was really good, why don’t you come back?’” said Ziggy, who plans to quit his job working as a support worker for young adults with learning disabilities.
“Now we have the time we can hopefully return and make a success of it again.”
Ziggy said he was unconcerned about the derelict state of some of the other buildings nearby.
“In the late 1990s it was quite run down around there and then you didn’t have the Pizza Hut or apartment block around the corner,” he said.
“Even so, it was reasonably successful and was making money.”
He admitted that the restoration of the building would be a big job.
“It has deteriorated quite badly and was the biggest and most opulent bird house in Lancaster – when we opened the doors to begin the refurbishment there must have in excess of 500 pigeons on the upper floors,” he said.
“It was once a really impressive building and we plan to restore it to its former glory and more.”
The family has applied to Lancaster City Council for listed building consent to carry out the work and is promising a sympathetic restoration with little impact on the outside walls.
Impressive cast iron columns at first-floor level which are currently boxed in will be left exposed.
The building was constructed in 1865 by Richard Fawcett, a marble merchant, sculptor and manufacturer of marble chimney pieces. In 1881 the premises were occupied by Anthony Bell and Sons, who were also marble masons and sculptors, and it once contained an impressive marble staircase.
Children from Dallas Road Primary School have been invited to produce drawings depicting how they feel about living in Lancaster in 2011, which will be buried in a time capsule beneath the restaurant.
nProperty agents King Sturge have been instructed by administrators to sell the former LPN-owned site in Back Caton Road.
The land, which had been earmarked for offices and a hotel by Lancaster firm LPN before the administrators stepped in, has mixed use building consent. King Sturge are currently in early negotiations with a number of interested parties.