Work starts on Royal Insurance hotel project

WORK has started on an £18m project to convert Liverpool’s Royal Insurance building into a new hotel.

The city council has bought the freehold from local developer Highneal for £1.95m in April to help bring forward a hotel scheme.

Runcorn developer Ashall Property will now restore the grade II-listed property on the corner of North John Street and Dale Street which has been empty for 20 years.

It is hoped it will open late next year as a 116-bed four-star hotel operated by Glasgow-based BDL Management as Aloft Liverpool, under licence from the US group Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Mayor Joe Anderson 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, 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.”

The conversion scheme for the building has been designed by Liverpool architect Falconer Chester Hall (FCH). Balfour Beatty is the main contractor. English Heritage has committed a grant of £297,500. Ashall first won planning approval for the hotel in April 2012.