Pre-planning discussions between Belfast-based Benmore Developments and Manchester City Council are regaining momentum over a revised hotel tower design for the Theatre Royal site in Peter Street.
Grand plans for a 48-storey tower complete with heli-pad on the side of the roof were drawn up before the recession but were abandoned when the market crashed.
The vacant 1845 grade II-listed theatre is reserved in the council's civic quarter regeneration framework for a five-star hotel to complement the Manchester Central convention centre to the rear. The council's planning framework, published in 2009, says the site has potential for a 376,000 sq ft building containing a 250-bed hotel and 40 flats.
Planning negotiations have now resumed and architect Roger Stephenson has designed a 25-storey tower to contain 270 hotel rooms and presidential suite at the top. The original theatre façade will be retained to become the entrance to the hotel foyer. The new building will be created behind the original façade. A similar technique was used at the neighbouring Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Hotel, formerly the Free Trade Hall, also designed by Stephenson.
The hotel operator is not confirmed but Benmore has been linked previously with InterContinental Hotels Group, to bring its most upmarket brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, to Manchester.
A brass etching of Stephenson's concept drawing is currently on show in RIBA North West's superMODELS exhibition in Liverpool, which runs until 24 July at Home Quarter in Liverpool One.
All parties declined to comment.