Martins Bank seeks restaurant operator 

Property firm Kinrise is transforming the Grade II-listed Martins Bank Building in Liverpool into a new business hub and is seeking a restaurant partner for its famous banking hall. Tony McDonough reports

Martins Bank Building
Banking hall inside Martins Bank Building in Liverpool


Kinrise is seeking a restaurant partner for the famous banking hall in Martins Bank Building in Liverpool.

The company, which acquired the 210,000 sq ft building in August 2021, is currently transforming it into a hybrid mix of work, social and restaurant space. It is working with architects Red Deer and Brock Carmichael.

Located next to Liverpool Town Hall in Water Street, the Grade II-listed building has been closed since 2009. Despite numerous projects and ideas it has remained empty except for a handful of events and film sets.

Completed in 1932, Martins Bank performed an important strategic function when its vaults were used to store the bulk of England’s gold reserves, 280 tonnes, as part of Operation Fish in World War II.

It was part of an overall plan to move the country’s wealth to Canada in the event of a German invasion.

On the ground floor is a magnificent former banking hall, last used by Barclays. Now Kinrise is appealing for food and drink operators to come forward with proposals for the space.

Sam Lawson Johnston, co-founder of Kinrise, said: “We are excited to unveil our vision for the flagship restaurant at Martins. It is a space that we envision will cement Liverpool’s position on the culinary world stage.

Kinrise unveils vision for Martins Bank Building

“We are looking to secure a leading restaurateur who will create something special, a unique dining experience that will protect the heritage of the building through exemplary design, service and respect for its continuing legacy.

“The selected hospitality brand will help service the future businesses based in the building, alongside the wider general public as a new cultural destination for the city.

Around 10,000 sq ft of the ornate banking hall has been allocated for the hospitality space. The operator will also have exclusive use of an additional 3,025 sq ft of space at lower ground floor, appropriate for a kitchen and any additional ancillary space.

Two wings either side of the banking hall will act as activation and social areas, hosting an array of events from live music, conferences to pop-ups with local creators and makers. It will sit alongside 500 sq ft leading directly onto Exchange Square. This space is set aside for a coffee shop.


Martins Bank Building in Liverpool is now owned by Kinrise


Nick Huddleston, an associate director at property agents CBRE, added: “As one of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks, Martins Bank Building presents a unique opportunity for an ambitious bar restaurant operator.

“The artisan coffee unit opportunity will form a key component of the offering too, leading directly onto Exchange Square. We anticipate significant demand for this space and are excited to engage with interested parties.”

READ MORE: Gaucho ‘sustainable’ steakhouse creates 100 jobs

Due to open in late 2024, Martins Bank Building will offer 135,000 sq ft of space aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Once the centre of Liverpool’s commercial district, Water Street and Castle Street have become a thriving hospitality hub.

Anyone interested in finding our more about the restaurant or coffee shop spaces can contact Nick Huddleston at CBRE on 07791 251 745 or email

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