Work is under way on an £18 million project, kick-started by the council, to transform Liverpool’s historic Royal Insurance building into a stunning new hotel.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, visited the building, to mark the start of the 15-month scheme, delivered by Ashall Property Ltd. It will rejuvenate the Grade II* listed building, which has lain empty for 20 years, and had been placed on the National Buildings at Risk Register.
Now, the building has a bright future, with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. on-board to bring their design-led Aloft brand to the building – a high-profile first for the city.
Liverpool City Council purchased the freehold of the historic landmark, at the corner of North John Street and Dale Street in the city centre, for £1.95 million earlier this year- facilitating £18m of private investment in a project being undertaken by Runcorn based developer Ashall Property.
The Mayor – who was joined by Mark Ashall, Director at Ashall and Colin Bennett, Area Manager UK & Ireland, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, to see the beginning of a new chapter for the famous building – said: “At a time of inertia in the economy, we are taking the bull by the horns and doing things differently. This deal with Ashall is another great example of how we are targeting our resources creatively to help kick-start development, and investing in assets that bring in new income streams for the council.
“The Royal Insurance building has been empty for too long, and its rebirth is great news for our city, for our economy and for our hotel sector. We are protecting our past, as well as investing in our future.”
Mark Ashall, Director at Ashall Property Ltd, said: “Ashall Property is both excited and proud to kick-start the regeneration of such an iconic building which will provide Liverpool with a vibrant, design-led hotel complete with restaurant and meeting space.”
Colin Bennett, Area Manager UK & Ireland, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are very excited to debut our first Starwood hotel in Liverpool and look forward to working with all our partners to breathe new life into the iconic Royal Insurance Building. Following the success of Aloft London, we see great opportunities to grow our Aloft portfolio across the UK where there is a strong demand for affordable yet stylish, cutting-edge hotel brands.”
Jon Adams, Construction MD, Balfour Beatty, said “Balfour Beatty is delighted to be involved in the transformation of one of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings and look forward to delivering a project that will exceed the expectations of our customer and future guests using the hotel”.
It is estimated that 150 construction jobs will be created during the build, with over 50 full time equivalent jobs created once the hotel opens.
The latest figures show that Liverpool’s work to bring historic buildings back into use is having a real impact. Only four per cent of the city’s buildings are now on the at risk register, compared with a national average of around seven per cent.
• The Royal Insurance Company began its work in Liverpool in 1845 and erected purpose-built offices in North John Street in 1849.The present building was completed in 1903, following a decision taken in 1895 to build a much larger headquarters due to the rapidly expanding business in the city.
Pictured (l-r): Jon Adams, Construction MD (North) Balfour Beatty, Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Mark Ashall, Director Ashall Property, Colin Bennett Area Manager UK & Ireland, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Mark Pearson Operations Director Balfour Beatty