Plans in for Princess Street office-to-hostel

Realty Estates has submitted a planning application for the conversion of four floors of empty office space near Manchester’s Albert Square into a “backpacker’s hotel”, with capacity for up to 170 guests.

Designed by Sixtwo Architects, the change of use of the first-to-fourth floors of 57 Princess Street would create 16 dormitory bedrooms.

The offices have been vacant for some time, and Greek restaurant Rozafa operates from the ground floor and basement. Under the plans, the restaurant would remain, with the ground floor extended out towards the street to create additional dining space, and creating a terrace on the first floor.

According to documents submitted with the application, the scheme has been encouraged by the council, with the developer told “there is an undersupply of this type of accommodation in Manchester city centre”.

The hostel would be operated by a subsidiary of Realty Estates. Realty also runs the La Reserve Aparthotel in Manchester, and has a hotel in Fulham, London.

Realty said that the exact number of guests would be the subject of an operational assessment, but would be between 120 and 170.

NJL Consulting is the planner.

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Bet Manchester City Council love this.
Overlooking their nice big new square with lots of corporate occupiers.

By Kerry Packer

Do people actually back pack in Manchester? Its not very exotic?

By Bob Dawson

Manchester’s got a lot of hype at the moment because 1: its growing, and 2: it has produced 3/4 well know bandsl and 3) its northern and gritty and a bit more interesting than London. So I guess some people are coming up to see what all the fuss is about.

Once the word spreads that its grim and the Northern Quarter is a pardise of cookie-cutter hipster hangouts, then demand will probably fade.

Or maybe they come for the football.

By Zebith

These pages never cease to amaze me with their negativity and sarcasm ! No Bob , I wouldn’t consider Manchester or anywhere else in the UK as exotic but it appears to attract young people who amongst other things I associate with back packers. With the highest number of students in the UK @85,000 and with 350,000 within an hours drive young people are attracted to its night life, music and fashion scene (so I’ve read in numerous publications). Stop talking like an old f@rt and appreciate what the place has got to offer to young travellers.

By phildered

Great idea, there isn’t enough of this offering in Manchester, plus that space has been underutilised for years.

By Steve S

Zebith, its not hype and its certainly NOT at the moment, its just a realisation what the place has got a lot to offer and that’s the reason its attracted the younger element of society since the 90’s, with as I mentioned earlier, the music scene and its talent for innovation, creativity etc etc. As far as your favourite term grim is concerned, you’ve either a very limited vocabulary, never been to the place or cant for some reason accept the improvements and its continuing popularity.

By phildered

The press reports don’t match the reality: hype.

Its gloomy, unfriendly and unattractive, so grim is an appropriate word. I’ve lived there for over a decade, for study and then work: purely functional reasons. Just like most other people who’ve ended up there: the ‘cultural’ stuff (what there is of it) is an add-on, and only to be expected in any large city. The improvements are welcomed, as they are desparately needed. However, the continuing lack of public space/any council aspiration for it and the zero quality architecture don’t fill me with hope.

‘Popularity’ in terms of people flocking there doesn’t mean people find it a nice place to live. Many of us shop at Tesco without having any love for the place. Manchester is a Tesco city.

By Zebith

Thanks for the response Zebith, maybe you could share the ‘press reports’ I’d be very interested to see them – I shan’t hold my breath !Talking of which, I’ve seen two over the past fortnight. One, believe it not from the London Evening Standard which gave a very positive view and one this week in the Huffington Post which was extremely positive. I shan’t pass comment on your latest rant as I found it rather sad and disturbing and per the ‘I’ve lived here 10 years’ if that is the case its time to move on. Let leave it at that , take care and have a good weekend.

By phildered

Sounds like you’ve already read some of the hype-laden press reports to which I referred. These are hype, come on now. Do they really match the reality of life in Manchester for most of the people there?

By Zebith

But I am an old fart and proud of it! And entitled to my opinion. And would if a student/back packer/hip young thing – rather go somewhere better than Manchester. Well done on all your case study figures Philandered – but they are never correct.

By Bob Dawson

Bob , please enlighten the audience to the correct figures which you consider to be incorrect.

By phildered

Not only young ones after such places.I gave directions, to an elderly Dutch couple recently, to a ceratin “backpacker” style place in town…They claimed it was all could find, at a price they were willing to pay. Of course young people come here.Is considered edgy ….

By Schwyz

I moved here from Birmingham (and before that London) and love the place. It’s not perfect, it may well not be the best, and I’m not going to get into a tit for tat as everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it’s not unfriendly and grim, and to make blanket statements like that is ridiculous.

By Anonymous

Manchester is the most popular city outside of London for tourists, especially young people from overseas, more places like this are needed.

By Sam

New Economy, Key Facts (Jan 2016)

There are 1.15 million international visitors to Greater Manchester every year.
Manchester is the UK’s third most popular city for international visits, after London and Edinburgh. The top attractions in Greater Manchester in 2014 by visitor
numbers (UK and international) were:

– The Lowry – 866,773
– Museum of Science & Industry – 678,867
– Manchester Art Gallery – 531,904
– National Football Museum – 466,788
– Manchester Museum – 426,517

The tourism economy is worth £7.5 billion per annum to Greater Manchester. Conferences and business events generate £823 million annually for the Greater Manchester economy, supporting 22,500 jobs.

By Jonathon Waterstone

All these figures measure stays associated with the airport as well as business trips. I often take people round Liverpool who spent their first night at Manchester airport and then got straight on the train to Liverpool. And they come a long way. One woman flew in from New York to meet her daughter who flew in from Israel… they spent their holiday in Liverpool.

By Paul (RIBA tours)

Manchester has the best hotel occupancy rate in the North despite being the most expensive.

By Joy

Good to see the North West enjoying great visitor numbers. We are involved in short and long term stays in Liverpool, we have been so busy this year we are full all the time.
A lot of our visitors fly into both airports and seem to be split into two travel schedules. London/Liverpool/Ireland/scotland or London/Liverpool/Manchester/yorkshire, not always in that order, but they tend to stay in Liverpool longer than anywhere else, which is good for us and the NW. No hidden agenda here we all benefit from a fully functioning NW and be happy we all have a lot to offer.

By Man on bicycle

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