A major council building in the heart of Liverpool city centre is set to be transformed into a Bill Shankly-themed aparthotel.
The Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve plans, on Friday 4th April, for the city council to dispose of Millennium House to Signature Living Hotel Ltd.
It follows the completion of the city council’s acquisition this week of the Cunard building, part of a cost-saving scheme which will see the council relocating hundreds of staff to the Grade II* waterfront site and disposing of its interest in Millennium House, and the 10th floor of The Capital building on Old Hall Street.
If given the go-ahead, Signature Living Hotel Ltd (SL), will submit a planning application to convert Millennium House into a 250-capacity Bill Shankly-themed Aparthotel.
A unique, ‘Bill Shankly museum’, within the hotel, will feature a range of never-before-seen items, which tell the story of the revered Liverpool FC manager, and which have been held for many years by his family.
The £15 million development will also include 17,500 sq ft of upgraded office space – which will house Signature Living’s head office, as well as providing space for local start-up companies, as part of a young, creative professional hub.
And the city’s Lifestyles Gym which operates from the building will be expanded and transformed into a flagship 21st century facility – with new, state-of-the-art equipment – and leased back by the Council, who will continue to operate it as part of the on-going leisure provision in the city.
It is estimated that the scheme will create over 60 jobs during the construction period, and a further 100 jobs once the conversion is complete and the building fully occupied.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The relocation of our staff to the Cunard building will generate millions in savings and income for the city council. But it’s really important, once our staff leave Millennium House, that the long-term vibrancy of the building – and importantly, Victoria Street – is protected. I believe this project will deliver that.
“Liverpool’s sporting heritage is celebrated throughout the world, but we do not have a major football attraction in the city centre. These proposals would change that, providing a permanent tribute to one of our most famous footballing heroes, filling a gap within our tourism market, and attracting visitors from across the globe.
“This really is a unique project, and something people would not be able to experience anywhere else in the world. A hotel celebrating the life, times and achievements of Bill Shankly would complement the raft of cultural attractions on the nearby William Brown Street, and further boost our tourism offer in this part of the city.
“The scheme would also enable us to deliver a bigger, better, Lifestyles gym, as well as delivering new office space, creating jobs and securing major investment in a key city centre building. It’s a great deal for the city.”
Bill Shankly’s grandson, Chris Carline, who is collaborating with Signature Living on the project, said: “I’ve been working on this idea for many years now, meeting different people and seeking different advice about how I could make this happen. As a huge Liverpool fan and born and bred Liverpudlian, who’s travelled everywhere with the club, I’ve always known what a fantastic amenity this could be for the City.
“It is about celebrating Shankly the man, his achievements, what he stood for and the people he influenced and those who influenced him; celebrating his life in essence. We have unbelievable memorabilia that has never been seen before and family stories that will ensure a visit to the hotel gives you a never before seen or heard Shankly experience – it really will be a must see for everyone.
“He loved this City and would be so proud, as he was all about the people and their experience – and this is the exact ethos that Signature Living look to provide for guests.”
If granted Cabinet approval, Signature Living intends to submit a planning application for the whole project in April.
Construction of the aparthotel and office conversion would begin in early 2015 with the scheme due to complete by March 2016.
The gym expansion would be carried out first, and completed by summer of this year. The existing gym will continue to run while the work takes place, keeping disruption to existing gym users to a minimum.
Lawrence Kenwright, Director at Signature Living Hotel Ltd, said: “Whatever one’s football allegiance, Bill Shankly remains a legend of the sport. He brought the glory days back to Liverpool FC, and we intend to do the same at this landmark city centre building.
“We will transform it into an iconic hotel and museum in his name. We will also use part of the building to support local start-ups and new university graduates, with what will be a creative hub for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
“If approved, these plans will provide a huge boost to Liverpool’s regeneration and will be yet another good news story for the city.”
• Millennium House is a gateway building sited in a key location on Victoria Street, on an important route between Lime Street Station/St Georges Quarter and the Town Hall/Waterfront.
• Signature Living, which operates a number of premises in the city centre and is currently converting Albion House into a Titanic themed aparthotel, approached the City Council in late 2013 with the proposals to acquire and transform Millennium House into a football-themed aparthotel.
• The Council hopes the delivery of the project will contribute to securing further investment into Victoria Street, following a range of recent developments in the immediate area, including the renovation of the Former Royal Insurance Building, Tinlings Building, Dale Street Shops and the former Bridewell Building.
• The project also aims to further improve the link between the cultural quarter on William Brown Street and the retail core of the City Centre, and ensure that, once Millennium House is vacated by the Council, it does not become a problematic blight site.
• The current Lifestyles gym, housed on the nosecone side of the ground floor of Millennium House, will be relocated into the ground and first floors of the Crosshall Street section of the building, approximately doubling in size to 18,000 sq. ft.
• Plans for the gym include reconfigured and enlarged changing rooms, weights / machine zones and studio space. It will help the successful gym, which is situated in a major student corridor, and has grown in popularity over the past decade, meet demand over the past decade due to its ever growing popularity.
• Millennium House’s existing undercroft car park will continue to serve the users of the building privately as it currently does.
• Liverpool City Council’s acquisition of the Cunard building, relocation of staff to the site and disposal of its interest in Millennium House on Victoria Street, and the 10th floor of The Capital building on Old Hall Street, will slash the council’s accommodation costs by around £1.35 million per year. At the same time, up to £1.75 million of income will be generated per year from renting out spare office space at the Cunard Building.