Plan for £50million waterfront hotel in Plymouth
Plans have been unveiled for a new £50million hotel and luxury apartment block in Plymouth.
The development on the city's waterfront will feature a five-star boutique hotel and a block of luxury flats, and will be built on the site of the Hoe's demolished Quality Hotel before the end of 2019.
The father and son team behind the plan are confident they can have the two distinct blocks constructed in just two years, bringing nearly 300 jobs to the city, in time for the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020.
John and Chris Henley will call the development 1620 after the date of Pilgrim Fathers' voyage.
The London-based family firm Henley Real Estate aims to create a hotel that will attract international visitors to the city as part of a "vibrant" development on "one of the most prestigious sites in the country".
The Henleys envisage a slim hotel building, of about 10 floors, with all 60 bedrooms facing towards the Sound.
It will have a "modern atrium reception" and a first floor conference facility for up to 250 people, which will open out onto a large terrace.
There will also be a top-floor fine-dining restaurant, and a bar, gym and spa inside the hotel.
Alongside the hotel there will be a separate tower comprising 80 bespoke apartments in a slightly taller building.
The flats and hotel will be linked, with apartment residents able to use the hotel facilities.
The Henleys will sell off the flats but operate the hotel themselves, promising a "long-term investment", and point to a £390million portfolio and hotels such as the 48-bed Crabwall Manor Hotel and Spa in Chester as examples of previous success.
They aim to exchange contracts with landowner Plymouth City Council before Christmas and submit plans by March 2017, following extensive consultations.
The intention is to start construction in August 2017 and have the hotel and flats built before the end of 2019, in time for when Plymouth will be the epicentre of Mayflower 400 events.
John Henley said 200 construction jobs would be created, with 75 people working in the finished hotel.
The purchase price is not being divulged, but John said the total price of the development will be £50million.
"They will be statement buildings on the Hoe," John said. "We want to deliver a profitable five-star business.
"And it will have large conference facilities for 250 people, on level one with an outside terrace overlooking the Sound.
"That will attract conferences to the city that maybe have not been here before.
"And the top floor will have a panoramic restaurant."
The Henleys assured Plymouth City Council's cabinet that they could get the building built in what they admitted was a tight time frame.
"It's deliverable," Chris Henley said, adding that the business wants to capitalise on the Mayflower 400 events.
And John stressed: "It's important to have it up before 2020 itself. We are putting a hotel in Plymouth that will be nationally and internationally known and bring people to Plymouth that have not thus far come to the city."
He added: "We have already received enormous interest in our plans for this site and we look forward to engaging with both the community and businesses of Plymouth as we are confident this is a scheme that the city will be proud of for decades to come."
Council leader Ian Bowyer said the 1620 development would take the city to "the next level".
With Plympton's Boringdon Manor recently achieving five-star status he said Plymouth could end up with two top-rated hotels – there is only one other in Devon and Cornwall
"That's a huge vote of confidence for the city," Cllr Bowyer said. "It demonstrates the city is open for business.
"It's not every day you can announce a level of investment of this scale and significance."
The site in Cliff Road was previously home to the 10-floor Quality Hotel, which had become disused and derelict before the council bought it in January 2016.
By summer demolition of the building, originally opened as a high-class venue 1970, was underway.
Marketing of the site began almost as soon as the property was acquired and the council worked with hotel expert JLL to develop the brief to enable the city to attract the right developer and hotel operator.
Cllr Bowyer added: "To have acquired the site, demolished an eyesore building and attract a new exciting development in less than 12 months just shows what can be done with a bit of drive and courage.
"We took a bold and proactive approach and it is paying off."