Hotel latest change to Castle Street

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The conversion of an office in Liverpool city centre into a budget hotel is due to be approved next week, as part of Castle Street’s continued transformation from commercial to leisure uses.

Merseyside Estates sold 47 Castle Street in March this year to easyHotel, the hotel chain founded by easyJet tycoon Stelio Haji-Ioannou.

The 1970s building has 6,600 sq ft of offices over four floors and Salt House Bacaro restaurant on the ground floor.

The £3m conversion will deliver 77 en-suite bedrooms on the upper floors, while the restaurant will remain operational underneath.

The hotel is due to open in 2016. The easyHotel will be the chain’s first branch in the region, with its second earmarked for Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Castle Street and the surrounding area has traditionally been Liverpool’s commercial district, but in recent years has seen a spate of office occupiers vacating to be replaced by an increased leisure offer.

Bruntwood recently completed the conversion of part of the Queen Insurance Building into a Tune Hotel following the exit of DWF, while restaurant CAU has taken space in the ground floor in a site that was previously home to Britannia Building Society, DWF and Martin’s newsagent.

At the former Starbucks unit on Castle Street, bar group Graffiti Spirit announced earlier this month that it would be opening a sister restaurant to Santa Chupitos, called Santa Maluco.

Liverpool City Council is due to approve the creation of the easyHotel at its planning committee meeting on Tuesday 1 December.

At the same meeting planning officers have recommended a further student accommodation scheme for approval, at the former Kensington Market site on Prescot Road.

The derelict site is being developed by PHD1 Construction and Ascot Property Group.

The scheme will see a six-storey block, made up of 203 bedrooms and two ground floor retail units, a four-storey building with 48 studio flats, a two-story building with four studios, and 27 townhouses with between two and four bedrooms in a terrace.

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The biggest remaining opportunity on Castle Street is Cockerel’s masterpiece, the former Bank of England. The street now has a wonderful vibe, and as one of Liverpool’s 7 original medieval streets, laid out by King John in the 1200s, it’s good to see the historic ‘old town’ welcoming visitors to the city.

By Paul Blackburn (Chester)