RO St Bernards and Staycity Ltd submit a planning application in the Enterprise Zone

RO St Bernards (ROSB) and Dublin-based serviced apartment operator Staycity are to submit a detailed planning application for a new £15 million 190 bed hotel on the site of the former Science Museum on Charlotte Street, Birmingham; work is expected to start on site early in the new year.

ROSB secured the site and outline planning permission in 2006. The site had lain derelict since the closure of the Science Museum in 1997.

Following demolition and remediation of the site, including the retention and refurbishment of two listed buildings, ROSB completed the first phase in 2009.

Phase one included a 100-bed Travelodge hotel, now one of the most successful in the chain, and 20,000 sq ft of speculative offices, now let to NSPCC, MADE and the Ormiston Academies Trust.

The new planning application follows the principles established by the 2006 planning consent for a five storey building wrapping around the Whitmore Warehouse, and closely follows the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area Design Guide and comments of the Design Review Panel and Birmingham City Council planning and conservation officers.

The hotel will provide an active frontage to Charlotte Street, the Whitmore Warehouse and the canal towpath, thus improving security and, by attracting more people to the area, stimulating further redevelopment. The operation will complement Staycity’s other hotel in the city, at the Arcadian Centre, Hurst Street.

Chris Bond of Property 252, ROSB’s advisors on the project, said: “This will be one of the first developments in the recently announced enterprise zone and so will not only transform a derelict site, attract more visitors to the city, create new jobs and inward investment but the additional income the Council will receive under Enterprise Zone legislation from the additional business rates will provide much needed investment for infrastructure projects elsewhere in the city.”

Craig Satchwell, of joint letting agents Colliers International, said: “To date many of the larger lettings in the city have seen occupiers consolidating or upgrading premises. Staycity’s expansion in terms of a second larger hotel is therefore to be welcomed.”

John Griffiths, of joint letting agents GBR Phoenix Beard, said: “ROSB has been working tirelessly to attract occupiers to the site following the collapse of the housing market in 2008 and Staycity represents a major boost not only to the site but to the economy of the Jewellery Quarter and city as a whole.”

The proposed hotel will accommodate more than 700 guests a night, generating an estimated £13million per annum for the city, with local convenience stores, bars, cafes and restaurants the main beneficiaries.
In addition to construction jobs, as the hotel does not provide staff accommodation but provides a 24 hour service, the development will also create local jobs, including shift work which will benefit working families and enable parents to share child care.

The hotel will not only attract tourists and business visitors to the Jewellery Quarter but as each flat has a sitting room and kitchen area, it will also provide a useful base for families visiting students at the nearby University College Birmingham.

Staycity has existing hotels in London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin and Paris and is opening new hotels in Cardiff, Lyon, Marseille, Rome, Berlin and Birmingham in 2013/14.

Staycity offers the convenience, comfort and value of a home from home, whether it be for one night or more, making it ideal for families, groups of friends and business travellers wanting room to relax or work and the freedom to choose whether to eat in or go out.

Andrew Fowler, of Staycity, said: “We are delighted with the performance of our existing hotel in the Arcadian Centre and have been looking for a second site in Birmingham for some time. The site on Newhall Square is ideal for business, leisure and family guests, being just a short walk from New Street and Snow Hill Stations and with pedestrian links via the canal towpath to Brindleyplace, the National Indoor Arena and Sea Life centre.”

The planning application will be heard on 20 December. The hotel is planned to open in 2014 and will be another major step in the continued regeneration of the Jewellery Quarter.

Keith Stanley, operations director at the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, said: “We welcome the on-going regeneration of this key site in the Jewellery Quarter, with its ability to provide jobs and stimulate the local economy. A sensible approach from all parties has created a scheme that will work in economic terms and yet helps preserve and enhance the unique character of the Jewellery Quarter.”