NEWS: Hotel deal for Liverpool’s Royal Insurance Building


A deal has been completed to bring Liverpool’s derelict Royal Insurance building back into use – with a pioneering hotel operator signed-up. The city council completed the purchase of the freehold of the historic landmark, at the corner of North John Street and Dale Street in the city centre, for £1.95 million – levering in £18 million of investment from Runcorn-based developer Ashall Property Ltd. And in a high profile first for the city, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will be bringing their design-led Aloft brand to the building.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The Royal Insurance building is an important landmark in the heart of our city, with outstanding architectural and historical value. It has been derelict for too long and we are determined to bring it back into meaningful use.

“Our deal with Ashall and our success in signing-up Aloft gives us a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into the building. It’s a great example of how we are working with the private sector to attract new investment, preserve our heritage and reduce the number of buildings at risk in our city, while boosting our hotel offer.”

Launched in 2008, Aloft Hotels rank among TripAdvisor’s ‘Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in the US and around the world.’ Created to shake up the traditional mid-market hotel sector, they feature urban-influenced, modern design at an affordable price.

The 116-room, 4*, boutique-style Aloft Liverpool will feature the brand’s signature high ceilings, oversized windows, comfortable platform beds, walk-in showers and atmospheric public spaces. It will also offer a re:chargeSM fitness centre and re:fuelSM by Aloft, a 24-hour grab and go deli-style café, in addition to five creative spaces for meetings and presentations.

The Grade II* listed Royal Insurance building has been unoccupied for 20 years, leading to it being placed on the National Buildings at Risk Register. Ashall Property Ltd aims to start building work on the gold-domed building in early May, completing work in late 2014. It is estimated that 150 construction jobs will be created during the build, with over 50 full time equivalent jobs created once the hotel opens.

The conversion scheme for the building has been designed by Liverpool architect Falconer Chester Hall (FCH). Balfour Beatty is the main contractor. English Heritage are supporting the scheme with a grant of £297,500.

Mark Ashall, Director at Ashall Property Ltd, said: “FCH has designed a scheme which complements and preserves the great heritage of this property and Ashall Property is both excited and proud to have the opportunity to regenerate an iconic building and provide Liverpool with a vibrant, design-led hotel complete with restaurant and meeting space.”

The renovation of the Royal Insurance building contributes to one of the ambitions of the City Centre Strategic Investment Framework (SIF), a major 15 year plan developed by the city’s economic development company, Liverpool Vision working with Drivers Jonas Deloitte.

Glasgow-based BDL Management, with 47 hotels currently under management, will be responsible for the day- to-day running of the hotel.

The latest figures show that Liverpool’s work to bring historic buildings back into use is having a real impact. Only four per cent of the city’s buildings are now on the at risk register, compared to around seven per cent nationally.

 

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