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Malaysian budget hotel for Castle Street

Conversion of Grade II Queens Insurance Building plus aparthotel plan for George Henry Lee

Written by . Published on November 22nd 2013.

Malaysian budget hotel for Castle Street

AN Asia-based hotel group is to breathe new life into the Queens Building arcade complex in Liverpool’s Castle Street.

Tune Hotels, boasting "a five star sleeping experience at one-star prices", is being lined up for a proposed 99-room hotel in part of Queens Building, using vacant upstairs offices as bedrooms.

Queens Building is best known – and loved – for its narrow arcade linking Castle Street and Dale Street.

The oldest building within the site dates back to the 1830s, with the rest built in the 1870s and 1880s.

The plan envisages a hotel reception area in Castle Street, but shops and restaurants will continue to occupy most of the frontage.

Queens BuildingQueens Building

An application for planning permission has been lodged with Liverpool City Council’s planning department by Manchester based Hotel Land and Development Company.

As the building is Grade II listed and within the Liverpool World Heritage Site, conservation issues form a major part of the application.

Many of the historic interior features of the building will be retained, say the applicants in their submission.

Externally, key features will also be preserved, including the mosaic frieze showing sailing ships and the inscription ‘British and Foreign Marine Insurance Company Ltd’ – a reminder of Liverpool’s days as one of the world’s greatest seaports.

Tune Hotels is part of the Tune Group, the private investment group of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, founder and group CEO of the low-cost airline AirAsia. Tune Hotels states that it is aiming for 100 hotels in its global portfolio by 2015.

Queens Building 3
The group already operate hotels in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand Australia and Japan.

In the UK, it has four hotels in London and one in Edinburgh, making Liverpool the home of its first provincial hotel in England.

Manchester-based Bruntwood are listed as owners of the building. Architects for the hotel scheme are Ica Architects of East Kilbride, Glasgow.

Meanwhile, in a separate application, the upper floors of the former George Henry Lee Building in Church Street will be turned into an aparhotel, with a roof restaurant.

The scheme has been submitted by Birmingham-based Gethar Ventures  to convert the floors above TK Maxx into an aparthotel with up to 114 rooms, with an entrance created in Basnett Street.

When the John Lewis Partnership won permission to become one of the anchor stores in Liverpool One, one of the council-imposed conditions was the old GH Lee store would find new occupants for what was the city’s biggest department store complex.

With the former Bon Marche building now occupied, the final slice of building appears to have finally found a new use, depending on the go-ahead from the council’s planning committee.

The applicants state there is a shortage of aparthotel-type accommodation in Liverpool, popular with younger tourists heading to the city.

The upper floors of the main block fronting Church Street have remained empty since JLP pulled out.

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