Hotel proposal for derelict Employment Exchange site

Simon Donohue

The landmark site of the derelict Employment Exchange building in Aytoun Street, Manchester, has been acquired by Dominvs Living for the construction of a 340 bedroom 4-star hotel.

Dominvs is a property company backed by the family of entrepreneur Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, who sold Euro Car Parts for £225m in 2011.

The Manchester hotel is understood to be Dominvs Living's first property development.

The site previously belonged to Liverpool-based property development firm Albany Crown, which had planned to build an £80m, 44-storey tower designed by Manchester-based architect Ian Simpson. Plans included a hotel and a suite of offices.

However, Albany Crown was placed into administration with Deloitte in May 2010.

A statement on Dominvs Living's website reads: "As part of a planned expansion of strategically located branded hotels in key UK cities, Dominvs Living have acquired a landmark site in Manchester city centre for the development of a 340 bedroom 4-star hotel, restaurant and conference facilities.

"In a prime situation, the hotel will stand adjacent to Piccadilly Station, the main intercity rail and tram terminal and recently the subject of a £50m refurbishment. It is also planned to be the North West terminal for the new HS2 high speed train to London, Birmingham and Leeds.

"The hotel will occupy a prime position as part of the highly successful and recently completed 250,000 sq ft mixed use Piccadilly Regeneration Project which has now become a vibrant gateway to the city centre, highly regarded as the UK's second city, both in commercial terms and tourism attractions.

"This is an important and significant development and the hotel will become a vital element of the fast growing international attraction for Manchester and its increasing stature as a major European city."

The art deco former Employment Exchange is understood to have been designed in 1936 by David Thompson for the Office of Works, with work suspended until 1948 when E. H. Montegue Ebbs took over.

It is thought that the building opened in 1951.

No planning application has yet been submitted to Manchester City Council for the demolition of the former Employment Exchange building and development of a new hotel.

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I hope this does not go ahead.

This building is a real gem and should not be trashed for the sake of another hotel.

By Anonymous

Err… the exisiting building is derelict, and has been for a number of years, right at a major entry point into Manchester. It presently contributes nothing. Better a hotel than an empty unused eyesore.

By Morton Harket

Just because something is "better than nothing" doesn’t mean its a good idea. There’s a fantastic building there which could be given a new lease of life. Conveniently, hotels are a land use which can be accommodated in a wide variety of building shapes, and I see no reason why a big angular building of this type cannot be refurbished for this use. The building would make a fantastic contribution to the developing "hotel quarter" and would be a refreshing landmark among the surrounding new builds.

By Scousemanc