The first round of the process to find a new company to run the Maltings, the historic centre for conferences, exhibitions and banqueting in Ely, has been completed with seven companies short-listed for the next stage.
An independent external consultant vetted the 12 initial expressions of interest, looking at areas such as the ability to invest in the building and whether they would be capable of running a prestigious community venue.
The seven short listed companies, which were unanimously agreed by all parties at Policy and Resources Committee, will now have 50 days to submit their full tender ready for a final decision to be made so the building can reopen later this year.
The short listed companies are: Crown Group (UK) Ltd, Duchy Catering, Sedoxo Prestige, Digby Trout Restaurants (Elior), Alfresco, Yes Dining and Leiths (Compass).
Councillor Fred Brown, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, said: â€œIt is important that we get the best possible company or organisation to run the Maltings. They must be able to provide the investment into the building which it sorely needs to make it something fit for the 21st century. This is why we employed an external expert to go through the expressions of interest for the Council to ensure we got a completely independent assessment of the bids.
â€œWhoever wins the contract will have to meet a number of strict criteria to deliver high quality services, promote a cinema as well as provide excellent catering facilities whether the customer fancies a snack or needs a wedding catered for. The Maltings is a key building on the Ely Riverside and we are excited at the prospect of it reopening later this year.â€
The Maltings, built in 1868 for the brewery of Ebenezer William Harlock, is a grade II listed building is currently closed for repairs. The work involves reinstating an original pattern on the four slopes of the tower roof using a combination of traditional details.