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pounds 100m scheme to bring new life to Hope Street; Developer plans to transform listed buildings EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: BY TONY McDONOUGH Deputy Business Editor

LIVERPOOL'S historic Hope Street is to be transformed by four new developments featuring office space, a boutique hotel, bars and restaurants and luxury apartments, with a total estimated end value of pounds 100m.

Maghull Developments is behind the scheme which will be centred around five properties, four of which were formerly, or are currently, being used by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

The developer has submitted four separate planning applications to Liverpool City Council and is confident of approval for all of them. They are:

Josephine Butler House, at the junction of Hope Street and Myrtle Street, which will provide 20,000 sq ft of ground floor retail and restaurant units with 115,000 sq ft of grade A office accommodation on the upper floors.

On the 6th floor, a 7,000 sq ft sky-bar restaurant with outside terrace area has also been proposed, offering unrivalled views along Hope Street to both cathedrals and over the city.

This scheme alone has an estimated end value of pounds 60m.

The Hahnemann Building which will be refurbished into a 63-bedroom five-star boutique hotel. These proposals will capitalise on Hope Street's already impressive reputation for high-quality hotel accommodation and fine dining.

68 Hope Street and 2 Blackburne Place, both Grade II-listed buildings, will be refurbished to provide 54-loft style apartments which will be aimed specifically at the city's most affluent residents and not the investor market.

Apartments will range from 600 sq ft for a one-bedroom unit to 3,600 sq ft for a three-bedroom triplex unit, complete with three outside terrace areas. Prices are expected to range from pounds 150,000 to more than Elm.

Josephine Butler House will also provide three levels of basement car parking offering secure off-street parking for all four schemes.

The schemes will involve investment by Maghull, backed by Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate, of tens of millions of pounds. Michael Hanlon, managing director of Maghull Developments, insists that, despite the credit crunch, funding for the projects is in place.

He said: "We have worked very closely with the city's planning officers for over 12 months and our plans will ensure a sympathetic refurbishment of key Grade II-listed buildings on Hope Street.

"The proposals provide a mix of uses which will undoubtedly enhance the vitality and viability of the city's Georgian Quarter, while providing a substantial boost to the local economy in terms of job creation and enhancing the city's tourism offer."

Mr Hanlon added that despite strong interest from independent operators, Maghull will operate the boutique hotel itself. He also claimed its standards would exceed those of the very highly regarded Hope Street Hotel nearby.

"I think what the Hope Street Hotel did when it opened was raise the bar in terms of hotel standard in Liverpool and at the time that was fantastic. But I think we can raise that bar even further and create something that could rival the best boutique hotels in London.

"The Georgian Quarter and Hope Street in particular is already renowned for world-class architecture and these proposals will see some of the city's best Georgian properties refurbished to a very high standard and given a new lease of life.

It is hoped work will start next summer for three years.

Jim Gill, Liverpool Vision chief executive, said: "The regeneration of Hope Street has been one of the major city centre success stories. We welcome Maghull's plans for investment and their proposals to breathe new life into these landmark buildings."

tonymcdonough@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Artist's impression of plans for a new office/leisure development at Josephine Butler House, at the junction of Hope Street and Myrtle Street; The Hahnemann Building will become a 63-bedroom five-star boutique hotel with restaurant, bar and luxury day spa; Blackburne Place will be converted to provide loft-style apartments; Michael Hanlon
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2007
Words:643
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