Singapore-based hospitality group Fragrance has been given the go-ahead to convert the grade two-listed former headquarters into a 189-room hotel by Liverpool City Council’s planning committee.
The investor acquired the site in 2017 from the council and enlisted architect Falconer Chester Hall to plan a conversion of the 130,000 sq ft building into a four-star hotel featuring a swimming pool and spa, lobby and lower ground floor and ground floor levels, a ballroom, a bar and restaurant, and a conference hall.
Of the 189 rooms, there will be 24 and 29 guest bedrooms on the lower ground and ground floors respectively, with 68 on the first floor and 67 on the second floor.
A four-storey bronze-clad extension is proposed to the rear next to the NCP car park; this will house leisure facilities, some hotel rooms, and plant. The main entrance to the hotel will be via Dale Street.
The building was in council use until March 2017, although a “One Stop Shop” facility was operational at the site until February this year.
The plans were given the green light subject to a Section 106 agreement, which includes £56,000 towards tree planting – half of which will be paid before the development begins – and a contribution towards the provision of public art.
Alastair Shepherd, director of Falconer Chester Hall said: “This is a significant commission for us to convert a building that had been at the centre of the city’s public life for more than a century-and-a-half.
“We will carry out a sensitive refurbishment of the existing highly decorative spaces and deliver a scheme the site and its history deserve. This consent is testimony to the close working relationship with Historic England and the council’s conservation department.”
Along with Falconer Chester Hall, the professional team also includes Turley as planner, Curtins as structural engineer, Crookes Walker on M&E, Auditive as acoustic consultant, Turley Heritage, Tyrer Partnership on ecology and TTHC on transport.