The council is seeking expressions of interest from developers in order to bring forward the long-awaited redevelopment of the grade two-listed Central Plaza hotel in the city centre.
The seven-storey hotel, which was originally built by John Laing in 1882, has been left vacant since 2004 and has gradually fallen into disrepair over the past 14 years. The property was in private ownership but due to a liquidation reverted into the ownership of The Crown Estate, a process known as escheat.
However, The Crown Estate told the council it would “do nothing that could be seen as an act of ownership” to save the crumbling hotel, whose chimney collapsed in January forcing the closure of West Walls road.
Now the council has intervened to market the hotel to potential developers, and has said it will “keep an open mind on redevelopment options”; ideally looking for the building to be retained and refurbished, but not against seeing the property replaced “should this be the only viable option”.
The council has spent £250,000 on repairs since 2011. A feasibility study by the City Centre Business Group hired local architects Black Box to look at the options of total demolition, partial demolition with a final option which would some rebuild and a total renovation at an estimated cost of £5m.
In order to enable redevelopment, the council said it would consider giving assistance in buying the site, identifying funding, and advising on planning and heritage.
Any interested party should give details of its team, experience, and concept proposals via The Chest, by 31 December.