As it prepares to open its fifth Manchester site within the £750m mixed-use Circle Square in mid-May, the hotel chain is scouring the city for sites to house further schemes of up to 200 bedrooms.
Premier Inn is targeting the fast-growing locations of the Northern Quarter, Piccadilly and east Manchester – specifically, Eastlands, where US stadium developer Oak View Group is preparing to build its 23,500-capacity arena to rival the existing Manchester Arena, now renamed the AO Arena.
Kevin Murray, senior acquisition manager at Premier Inn’s parent Whitbread, told Place North West: “Manchester is an extremely important, popular and thriving market for both business and leisure Premier Inn guests.
“We are continuing to search for new opportunities across the city including in the Northern Quarter, where we are looking for a suitable site for a Premier Inn or Hub by Premier Inn in the Piccadilly area, and to the east of the city at Eastland’s near Manchester City’s football ground.
He added: “We are seeking to redefine, improve and expand our presence [in Manchester] to deliver the choice of location, flexibility and value that our guests expect of us, in landmark buildings in destination locations across the city.”
Premier Inn’s in-house property acquisition team is directing the search, alongside the company’s retained estate agency WSB Property Consultants. Murray said conversations have taken place with landowners in the Piccadilly area but that no firm opportunities have been identified there, or elsewhere, as yet.
The company is looking for sites that could house hotels with 100-plus bedrooms. “The average size of our four trading Premier Inn hotels in Manchester city centre is 200 rooms, so I would say between 100 and 200 rooms per site,” according to Murray.
“We’re flexible and the ultimate number will depend on the site opportunity.”
Premier Inn already operates four hotels in Dale Street Piccadilly, Deansgate Locks and Portland Street and, outside the city centre, in West Didsbury. In mid-May, it plans to open its fifth Manchester hotel – a 16-storey, 157-bedroom property on Princes Street at developers Bruntwood SciTech and Vita Group’s Circle Square off Oxford Road in the city centre. Construction of the hotel completed in December.
Meanwhile, Whitbread alongside Ask Real Estate unveiled plans in January to redevelop the site of the Deansgate Locks Premier Inn on Medlock Street into a 41-storey tower containing 370 flats and 400,000 sq ft of offices, as part of the council’s First Street regeneration programme.
“[The Princes Street opening] strengthens our presence to the south of the city centre and creates an opportunity to redevelop our Premier Inn Deansgate Locks hotel into a mixed-use development consisting of 370 homes and high-quality workspace fitting of its gateway location,” said Murray.
He added: “Premier Inn’s success has been built on our flexible development requirements, financial strength and ability to take on complicated projects ourselves or working closely with development partners.
“The pandemic has not blunted these qualities or our ambition in Manchester and I am hopeful we will find our next acquisition opportunity in the city soon.”