Martins Bank Building March 2019

Martins Bank hotel plans resurrected

Charlie Schouten

A fresh application has been submitted for the grade two star-listed building in Liverpool, after a previous plan to convert it into a hotel lapsed.

The distinctive building completed in 1932 but has been empty since the late 2000s after previous occupier Barclays moved out and plans for a hotel conversion were granted in 2015 but never progressed.

These plans were brought forward by Starwood Capital under the Principal brand, which has since sold the building as part of an £858m deal with French property firm FDR, which saw 14 properties change hands.

All of these sites beside the Martins Bank building were leased to InterContinental Hotels Group, raising questions over its future, but a fresh planning application has now come forward looking to convert Martins Bank into a 215-bedroom hotel.

The Principal Hayley Group remains the applicant for the site and is working with architect Brock Carmichael and planner Savills.

The fresh scheme differs from the previous application, which has now lapsed, with a series of changes. These include using the entire ground floor as a guest area, featuring a lounge, bar, restaurant, function rooms, reception and lobby.

The top floor has also been redesigned to include a sky bar, while a new entrance is proposed on the building’s Exchange Street West elevation of the building. The kitchen, offices, and ancillary space are all also to be moved to the basement, from the ground floor under the previous consent.

A previously-proposed mezzanine extension within the banking hall has also been removed; the existing mezzanine will instead be used to provide 12 guest rooms.

The former bank boardroom and directors’ dining rooms are to be retained as conferencing spaces, while a gym and fitness suite will also be built, accessed from the ninth floor.

New rooftop extensions will provide enclosed spaces between the existing stone rooftop colonnades on the east and west of the building to form a sky bar on its west elevation, and a spa along its east elevation facing the town hall.

A timeline for the hotel’s delivery has not yet been set.

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This will be Liverpool’s most exciting hotel. The Grade II* Martin’s Bank building is architect Herbert Rowse’s masterpiece and probably the country’s best example of American classical architecture which was promoted in Liverpool’s School of Architecture at the turn of the 20th century. The detailing is superb! It is the sister building of India Buildings opposite and together the two buildings illustrate how Liverpool’s architecture was influenced by American clacisism and the beaux arts. It relates more to buildings in New York and Chicago than England.

By Roscoe

As long as it doesn’t become another half build Signature site it should be great

By Carl

Why are Brock Carmicheal of all practices being trusted with such an architectural gem as that? They just are not good enough!

By Emma B

Looks like Ship Canal House in Manchester

By Elton

Absolutely amazing building, this will be a fantastic addition to the city’s hotel offering. Can’t wait!

By Liverpolitan

This is a truly beautiful building, so pleased it’s being brought back to use. It does bare similarity to Ship Canal House on the exterior but it is the interior of Martins Bank that impresses the most. Principle will fit very nicely in here.

By P Jones

Ok building but it’s got nothing on Ship Canal House or Gotham.

By Manc

The Aloft Hotel on North John Street is a fine example of this type of magnificent building being transformed into a Hotel development without losing its identity. Good luck to all involved.

By IR

You need to go there to see how beautiful it is – it’s easily as good as if not better than Ship Canal. And trust me I know as I have worked on Ship Canal.

By Lizzy Baggot

This is truly a wonderful building, the banking hall alone, where I used to frequent so often and seen by millions in so many movies. I spoke to one of the architects some years ago about this transformation, it was a very complicated and interesting appointment for him. I don’t know if he is still on the design team but he was very proud to be associated with it’s resurgence into public life.

By Liverpolitis

Great stuff. The ship canal building reminds me modem of the Owen Owen building by St. John’s.

By Great stuff

As long as Signature don’t get their paws on it then we should be ok

By J

This is possibly one of the most magnificent mercantile palaces in the country so this is very exciting news. From personal experience I know the team at Brock Carmichael love this building and will lavish it with as much care and attention as possible.

When open, this stands the chance of being one of the most gracious, elegant and special hotels anywhere. Here’s hoping PH’s development budget and service standards do it justice.

By Sceptical

This building n Liverpool looks like it could be place in places like NY, London Washington certainly dont compare it to a building in the likes of Manchester – Oh Please!

By Sam

If it was in NY it would’ve been torn down by now, too small, not good enough. Very much a Northern England building

By PDM

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