A fresh planning application has come forward to convert the George Henry Lee building on Liverpool’s Church Street into a hotel, following two previous attempts in 2014 and 2017.
The George Henry Lee building and Northern link building was built in 1912 and was formerly occupied by John Lewis before the department store vacated to move in Liverpool One in 2008.
Plans were put forward to convert the upper floors into a hotel in 2014, but these were never progressed, and a fresh application by aparthotel operator Roomzzz followed in 2017. This would have seen the building converted into 105 bedrooms with a gym and food offering on the ground floor.
Neither of these applications were ever progressed.
Now, the building’s owner has put forward a change of use application to add a luxury hotel to the upper floors.
This is being brought forward by the Doherty family, the owners of the former Rapid Discount Store on the ground floor, along with property investor Williamson Holding, which is also bringing forward the conversion of the Gostin Building on Hanover Street, which again will be turned into a hotel.
Williamson Holding and Hanover Holding, the special purpose company behind the Gostin Building’s conversion, are controlled by the Bolza family. Countess Christine Bolza, who has a registered address based in Mayfair, London, is listed as one of the company’s directors.
A full planning application for the George Henry Lee building is expected in the New Year.
Martin Doherty said: “When we purchased this iconic building and moved the Rapid retail business, being a local, Liverpool family, we were well aware of its heritage and as such we didn’t want to see such a beautiful and historic building left empty and fall into decay following the departure of John Lewis to Liverpool One.
“The building has a very special place in the memories and affections of Liverpool people and we have been working hard to ensure its future for many years to come.”
Williamson Holding spokesperson Nick O’Prey added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Dohertys to help them realise an exciting vision for this stunning building. They deserve an enormous amount of credit for their determination to preserve this important piece of Liverpool heritage. Jointly, we intend to deliver a development of exceptional quality and originality.”