Martins Bank sale confirmed

Principal Hayley Group, part of Starwood Capital, has been announced as the buyer of the Martins Bank Building in Liverpool, and will be bringing forward a £50m hotel conversion.

Starwood was understood to have exchanged contracts on the building earlier this month.

The company plans to convert the grade two-listed property on Water Street into a 227-bedroom hotel with a spa, bar and fine dining restaurant. Work will start on the project this year with a potential opening in late 2017 or early 2018.

The vendor, Bernard Byrne, chief executive of Castlewood Securities, has owned Martins Bank on Water Street since 1996. The building opened in 1932, and was designed by Herbert Rowse, also the architect of the nearby India Buildings.

Martins Bank was previously occupied by Barclays, which exited in 2009, and the 40,000 sq ft banking hall has remained vacant ever since, other than some temporary uses such as exhibition space for the Liverpool Biennial in 2008. There are also smaller offices on the upper floors.

Changing the use of the building to a 138-bedroom five-star hotel was first approved by Liverpool City Council in June 2014, but development never commenced. Plans were then submitted last year to increase the hotel to 227 bedrooms.

Castlewood Securities has been acquired by Principal Hayley Group Hotels in the deal. Castlewood has obtained full planning and listed building consent for the proposed development.

Tony Troy, Principal Hayley Group’s chief executive, said: “The Martins Bank building provides us with a strategically important presence in the heart of the Liverpool market, where there is a clear consumer need for a full-service luxury hotel and events space.

“Liverpool’s astonishing transformation over the last decade has seen it become one of Europe’s most important exhibition and convention centres as well as one of the most visited cities by tourists. Our development will become the jewel in the crown of Liverpool’s hotel offering.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the city to bring this plan to fruition and we will be working very closely with heritage experts to ensure our conversion of the building is sympathetic to its unique historic and architectural features.”

Your Comments

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Really good news for a fantastic building..deserves to be open again and welcoming people to the beauty of the interior.

By Man on bicycle

I agree a hidden gem! absolutely beautiful. Hope the refurb is sympathetic!

By Mary Smley

Looks like Ship Canal House, but not as nice.

By Comment

Have you ever been inside?

By Man on bicycle

It’s Grade II* and considered by Pevsner to be ‘amongst the very best interwar classical buildings in the country’. It is Herbert Rowse’s finest work, and illustrates the hold of American classicism on Liverpool in the early 20th century and the links between North America and the city. Used as a set for many films to double for New York.

By Paul (RIBA tours Liverpool)

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