A fire-damaged eyesore building described as an “embarrassment” to Blackpool is set to be transformed into a state-of-the art hotel, it can be revealed today.
The derelict shell of the former Palm Beach hotel and the neighbouring Bourne Hotel are set to be converted into a new 131 room Hampton by Hilton under ambitious £8.5m plans.
Blackpool firm Create Developments, based in Hallam Way, has submitted a planning application to Blackpool Council for the multi-million pound development of the buildings on Wimbourne Place.
Create has been working with the current landowners for three years on the site, and it has now bought the land to transform into a modern branded hotel, which is set to create scores of new jobs.
Hoteliers and community leaders today welcomed the news, saying the site has been the source of anger and embarrassment in the resort following a devastating fire last June which wrecked the Palm Beach.
Together with other empty and boarded up hotels in the area such as the Kimberley, it has left neighbouring hoteliers and business owners frustrated at the state of what is one of the main gateways to the resort.
The investment in the seafront has given a positive feel to the area but the number of run-down and boarded up hotels spoils the vista
In February calls were made for council bosses to act quickly and apply for outside funding to transform the area.
The town hall said it had been working with private owners to encourage them to take responsibility, but ruled out compulsory purchases as it would be a costly and lengthy process.
Now the new hotel, designed by Formroom Architects, of Manchester, will boast 131 contemporary bedrooms, a business hub, gym, bar and restaurant and comes with an £8.5m construction cost.
Terms have been agreed in principle with the Hampton by Hilton brand and around 40 new jobs will be created when the new hotel opens its doors in Spring 2017.
Paul Mathison, Create Developments’ Managing Director, said: “This has been a long and arduous journey for everyone involved but there has been a strong desire from all parties to make this scheme work and create something that the town and the residents can be proud of.
“The investment in the seafront has given a positive feel to the area but the number of run-down and boarded up hotels spoils the vista.
“Hopefully, our development will be the catalyst for other operators to invest in the area and complement the quality bed-stock in the area offered by hotels such as the Big Blue and No 1 South Beach.”
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s director of place, said: “For some time now, there has been a real appetite to revitalise this site.
“For that reason alone, I am sure that people will welcome the submission of a planning application that could be a step towards the regeneration to the area.
“The high quality international brand and the number of jobs that could be created will all give hope to those who have been wanting to see positive development.”
And the news was today hailed as “fantastic” by nearby business bosses who have been left fed up by the look of the area.
Blackpool hotelier Mick Grewcock, who owns the Burbage Lodge apartments, said if planning permission is given and the hotel goes ahead it would be a boost for Blackpool.
He said: “It is fantastic news. It is so hard at the moment for people to get finance to their hotels and this will improve the quality of the accommodation stock.
“At the moment the building is an embarrassment for the resort.
“People so often stop off in Lytham and St Annes before coming to Blackpool and this derelict building is one of the first things they see. I am sick of having to make excuses. So this will be brilliant.”
Susan Whadcock, 51, owner of the Ocean Bay Hotel, in New South Promenade said: “It is a surprise to us. Any improvement in this part of town is welcome and as hotel owners here we would not be bothered about competition because our reputation with customers is good.
“But it is only one hotel and the area needs so much more doing to it. There was talk of a developer coming in and taking the whole block to convert to luxury apartments. That would be better for everyone.”
Charles Ruppert, of the Colwyn Hotel, said the new hotel would be a start to improving an area which had struggled since before the recession and bank crisis.
He said: “The crescent here has seen better days and any new investment must be welcomed. We have been fighting for the area since 1985.
“I am surprised someone wants to come in a build a new hotel as there are a lot of hotel rooms in Blackpool already, but I am sure they will have done their homework and this area needs investment.
“There had been plans to promote a residential scheme here for apartments and there has been some interest in that so we will have to see how this affects that plan.”
Create Developments is sister company to Create Construction which has considerable experience in the hotel sector.
It provides a specialist construction service to a UK wide client base mainly in the student accommodation, education and hotel sectors.