Licence application submitted for Altrincham-style market in the Mackie Mayor

The redevelopment of the former Smithfield meat market on Swan Street has made further progress this week by way of an alcohol licence submission.

The historic Northern Quarter building is in the process of being restored by Muse developments and will be run by Market Operations Ltd – the team behind the roaringly successful transformation of Altrincham market, which currently feeds over 8,000 people each week

Plans to convert the ‘Mackie Mayor’ building into a contemporary market space were approved last year. The design of the Grade II listed, two-storey building – drawn up by Buttress Architects - will mirror that of the other remaining former Smithfield market building, now the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, with a staircase leading to an upper gallery, where there’ll be room for 220 covers and toilets.

Plans (pictured) will see an Altrincham-style food hall open in Northern Quarter:

Mackie Mayor Plans Buttress Architects Altrincham Market House6 Small Mackie Mayor Plans Buttress Architects 2 161208 Altrincham Market 7 Mackie Mayor Plans Buttress Architects 3 161208 Altrincham Market 8

The layout of the ground floor, meanwhile, will be similar to Altrincham market with communal bench seating (providing a further 148 covers – so no Altrincham-style scuffle for bum space) in the centre surrounded by various stalls and kitchen units selling produce, street food, coffee and booze.

Looks like one larger corner unit has been marked out for a wine bar, which we suspect will be devoted to Reserve Wines who currently have a busy unit over in Altrincham, while another corner has been given over to a bar and ‘snug’, which is likely to be manned by Blackjack Brewery (who also run the fantastic Smithfield Market Tavern nearby).

Interestingly, plans also assign room to three shop units on the corner of Eagle Street and Goadsby Street, as well as covered external seating along Goadsby Street – meaning Northern Quarter’s dearth of substantial outside dining space could soon be remedied.

Potted history

The Mackie Mayor, completed in 1858, was built as a meat market and is one of only two fully intact former Smithfield Market buildings left standing (the other is Manchester Craft and Design Centre). The market was once the UK's largest such complex.

Smithfield closed in 1974 when the city centre wholesale markets were foolishly moved to Openshaw, depriving the regional core of much vitality. Subsequently, the building has been a shop mobility centre and a skateboard park in a scheme to get ‘the kids’ away from wrecking Cathedral Gardens. That didn't work out very well.

A few hot food vendors currently working from Altrincham Market have expressed an interest in manning a pitch in the Mackie Mayor, including pizza makers Honest Crust, Katie’s Cakes, Bao House and meat specialists Tender Cow, as well as their fishy sister Fin.

Confidential also has word that they will be joined by Lancaster’s charming tea and coffee house, J Atkinson & Co, as well as rotisserie chicken specialists Nationale 7.

There’s no official opening date just yet, though we hear bosses have eyes on a summer opening.

Mackie Mayor
The interior of the Mackie Mayor before renovation works began