Municipal Buildings WBHO
Falconer Chester Hall designed the redevelopment

Russell WBHO starts Municipal Buildings transformation 

Dan Whelan

The contractor has begun the £40m redevelopment of the grade two-listed Liverpool building into a four-star hotel for Singapore-based hospitality company Fragrance Group. 

The two-year project will see the 130,000 sq ft former council office converted into a 179-room hotel featuring a restaurant, bar, and reception on the ground floor. 

A new-build, bronze-clad, four-storey extension at the rear of the Dale Street building will house additional bedrooms and a spa complex that includes a pool, gym, and treatment rooms. 

The renovation project has been designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall. 

Built between 1862 and 1868, the Victorian building was home to Liverpool City Council until the authority moved out in 2017. 

Fragrance Group bought the Dale Street building at the start of 2017, before advancing plans for its redevelopment, securing planning consent in October 2018 to convert the building. 

Gareth Russell, joint managing director of Russell WBHO, said: “The project team has worked hard to develop a scheme that respects the magnificence and heritage of the building and will allow it be re-energised and brought back to its former glory.”

Alastair Shepherd, Falconer Chester Hall director, said: “The conversion of such an iconic building requires a sensitive refurbishment and we are honoured to have been entrusted with its restoration.” 

Elsewhere in Liverpool, Russell WBHO converted the grade two-listed Chapel and Crosshall buildings for Vita Student into 357 student flats directly opposite the Municipal Buildings.

The contractor has also undertaken similar heritage refurbishments within Manchester’s Noma business district, including the £35m restoration of the Hanover building in 2018. 

The professional team includes structural engineer Curtins, Koncept ID as the interior design and specialist heritage architect Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture. 

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Would be great to see it in full use again. I understand why, but a shame that a ‘bronze’ extension is being tagged on to a glorious building. Dale Street needs something to happen urgently.

By Mark Gilbertson

About time…will be a wonderful addition to Dale Street and the wider area…

By Jess Arnott