The hospitality company is understood to have agreed a deal to operate a 281-bedroom hotel at Liverpool’s Pall Mall, potentially kick-starting the wider £200m project.
Fattal Hotels, which operates the Leonardo brand, has agreed heads of terms for the 13-storey hotel, which forms a key part of the 400,000 sq ft scheme, which also features offices, leisure, retail, and a public square. The deal is understood to have been signed and is currently in solicitors’ hands.
A hybrid planning application for the site by developers Kier Property and CTP, covering a large swathe of the city around Bixteth Gardens and Exchange Station, was submitted last month. This includes full permission for a 112,000 sq ft office and public realm, along with outline permission for the hotel and two further offices.
While the office is unlikely to be developed speculatively, the hotel could help to kick-start construction at the wider site once the deal with Leonardo completes.
Contractor Willmott Dixon is currently on site carrying out remediation and relocating a substation; a main contractor for the offices or hotels is yet to be appointed but is likely to be appointed via a tender list from Liverpool City Council.
Future phases, covering land stretching to Leeds Street, are likely to include a wider mix of uses including residential and a multi-storey car park.
The development of the site has proved to be controversial, particularly around the remediation of Bixteth Gardens, which is currently being remediated to help support the scheme.
Campaigners unsuccessfully tried to halt the gardens being developed earlier this year; however, it is understood opposition to the scheme has weakened, while a potential judicial review against the remediation of Bixteth Gardens never materialised.
Pall Mall is being backed by Liverpool City Council given the city’s lack of office space within the city centre; the council has identified a “desperate need” for new space and has brought forward a strategic regeneration framework for the city’s commercial business district in an attempt to combat the shortfall.
Under Kier Property’s timeline, construction of the first phase and the public realm is expected to begin in spring 2020 and complete in winter 2021; the first occupation of the new office is anticipated the following spring.
Funding, however, remains to be secured. In June, Oliver Butler of Kier Property told Place North West Kier and CTP were “exploring a number of avenues” to get funders on board and added discussions had been “positive”.
Kier Property confirmed a deal had been agreed for the hotel but declined to comment on the operator. The professional team on the project includes architect Allies & Morrison, along with landscape architect Re-form. Colliers and Worthington Owen are the agents.