Merepark/Ballymore sign hotel operators to Central Village

Joint venture partners Merepark and Ballymore have agreed a deal with international hotel group Millennium & Copthorne Hotels to open two new hotels in Liverpool's Central Village development.

The 3-star Copthorne Hotel Liverpool will face onto Newington Square and the Boardwalk public spaces. The '4-star deluxe' Millennium Hotel Liverpool will be created in the refurbished and extended Grade 2-listed Watson Building on Renshaw Street next to the Lewis's department store.

Planning consent for the hotels, each of 180 rooms and designed by Woods Bagot, was granted last year.

Construction has been delayed at the scheme due to the credit crunch and the JV partners must wait until 50% of the leisure and retail space, equivalent to around 15 units, is prelet before the funds will be released to start on site. The developers said the first tenants have been signed and they hoped to reach the required level of deals to start on site in 2009.

Both hotels are scheduled to open in 2011.

Richard Peel, director of North West-based Merepark, said: "This is clearly not only a significant milestone for the Central Village project but also for Liverpool's growing reputation as an international tourist destination.

"There has been much debate regarding the legacy of the city's tenure as Capital of Culture and whether Liverpool can maintain the success of 2008. The fact we are making this major announcement in the first weeks of 2009 is a very positive start to that legacy."

Savills and CBRE are joint lettings agents.

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