Municipal Buildings 2, Russell WBHO, P Butler Bancroft
Russell WBHO has completed the steel frame extension of the grade two star-listed building. Credit: via Butler Bancroft

Liverpool’s £40m Municipal Buildings refurb reaches milestone

Julia Hatmaker

Main contractor Russell WBHO has finished installing the steel frame of the four-storey extension of the grade two star-listed building, which will house a pool, gym and spa.

Singapore-based hotelier Fragrance Group is transforming the historic landmark on Dale Street into a four-star hotel. In addition to the pool, gym and spa, the rear extension will also hold some of the hotel’s 179 guest suites.

Fragrance Group will also set up a private drop-off entrance by the rear extension for VIP guests.

“The extension is an integral part of this project, providing guests with the modern, high-end spa facilities they’d rightfully expect in a hotel of this calibre,” said Russell WBHO joint managing director Gareth Russell.

“Linking the new steel frame to the existing structure was particularly challenging given the grade two start-listing of the Municipal Buildings,” Russell continued.

“But, thanks to our collaboration with the architects, structural engineers and the support of the city’s heritage officers, the installation has been a great success and provides us with a moment worth marking, to thank the whole project team for their hard work.”

Work on the site was tricky, due to its location between the 1868 building and a multi-storey car park. The teams at Russell WBHO had to use a mobile crane to create two four-storey towers and the future first-floor pool section. The steelwork was created so as to be independent of the original building, although it is connected using link corridors.

Next, the site will have bronze-effect glazed cladding installed on the extension. The main building will also be cleaned and have its existing stonework, brickwork and timber parts restored.

Municipal Buildings, Russell WBHO, P Butler Bancroft

The Municipal Buildings are wrapped in protective scaffolding as work continues on the site: Credit: via Butler Bancroft

Falconer Chester Hall designed the refurbishment and extension.

“This is an incredible historic building and all of the new-build elements will be clad to complement the existing façade,” said Falconer Chester Hall director Alastair Shepherd said. “I’m really looking forward to revealing the blend of old and new as the project progresses…

“The hotel will offer a unique guest experience that ‘tells the story’ of its host city,” Shepherd continued. “It will include a number of truly special suites, accessible guest rooms made possible through improved access, as well as a restaurant, bar, lounge, daytime dining area, meeting rooms plus a pool, spa and treatment rooms.”

Construction on Municipal Buildings started in November 2020. The professional team for the project includes structural engineer Curtins, interior designer Koncept ID, and specialist heritage architect Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture. 

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A fantastic building being given a new lease of life by a quality hotel operator.
The same can be said of the massive North Western Hotel building on Lime Street, which is being restored to use as a hotel once more by Radisson.

By Anonymous

Don’t worry, with the most useless council in England involved it will soon be abandoned, then they can do what they do best, cock up the roadworks and build student flats, and let’s not forget give thousands of acres of land away for free! Then they are secretly sold for hundreds of thousands!!

By Bryan

Looks good – let’s hope they do this fantastic and iconic Liverpool building proud. I remember when it used to be the council offices when I was a at school. I have been disappointed by some of the other hotels that are close by. The finishes in the Shankly weren’t great. And there is one in a nearby street. Awful. As for LCC well enough said.
If we are telling them off can they please sort bottom of Bold Street out – give the fabulous Lyceum a better use. Start some active frontage give Bold Street/Church Street a purpose. Richmond Street and Williamson Square – what is going on there where in another city would you have views of St John’s Gardens and have and a square to utilise and put betting shops etc?

By Lizzy

It looks really impressive but I wish when these main contractors from outside Liverpool would start using local sub contractors it’s a shame local scaffolding firms are missing out on large prestigious contracts in there own city

By John davis