In a radical departure from existing plans, Property Alliance Group is set to demolish the office on Portland Street and replace it with a 17-storey, 330-bed hotel, designed by Stephenson Studio.
The developer secured planning permission in early 2016 to renovate the 1960s block to create 110,000 sq ft of office space, alongside 6,200 sq ft of retail space.
The planning application, which was submitted in 2015 also includes a new-build 189-bed, 94,000 sq ft hotel and casino development on the adjacent plot, which currently houses a car park.
Main contractor Marshalls has already started on site on the new-build element, and Bespoke Hotels is on board as operator, replacing the original operator Park Plaza.
However, Place North West understands 55 Portland Street will now be demolished to make way for a 17-storey hotel and casino, with Irish firm Clayton Hotels lined up as operator for the four-star hotel and a second casino.
Sources close to the project suggested an Irish contractor is being lined up to build the scheme. Clayton Hotels has previously worked with McAleer & Rushe on its luxury hotel developments.
A new planning application will have to be submitted to allow the new scheme to go ahead, but it is understood that the demolition of 55 Portland Street and its replacement with a new building is the council’s preferred option for the site.
As well as a fresh planning application, the new build will be subject to a funding agreement, and it is understood that next steps for the project will be decided within the next six months.
The Bespoke Hotels building will be built as planned, with completion set for 2019.
Key changes since the 2015 planning application now show the casino occupying the entire basement level of the hotel, while the building’s restaurant has been relocated from the first floor to the ground floor.
Property Alliance Group and its chief executive David Russell were contacted and declined to comment.