Project partners on the former Fenwick building in Leicester have submitted applications for planning and listed building consent for the restoration and conversion of the building’s upper floors.
Developer, Aimrok Holdings Ltd and planning consultant, Hybrid Planning & Development have applied to remodel and convert the upper floors of the building into a 92 room Aparthotel together with a rooftop bar, which will become a focal point for the development. These planning applications sit alongside separate applications for planning and listed building consent relating to the extant consent for the conversion of the ground floor into four retail units, all to be managed by commercial agents, Space Retail Property Consultants.
The Aparthotel will include studio, one and two bedroom suites and all have been designed to bring out the period detail of the building in each room, using existing features wherever possible. The rooftop bar is formed from a single storey extension and will be available to guests staying in the apartments along with private members. Plans include space for a roof terrace, semi-enclosed courtyard and greenhouse/winter garden.
Jason Sobey, Vijay Patel and Thomas Knust are developers for the project. Jason said: “We bought the building because it is a historical landmark for Leicester and we wanted to ensure it would remain a significant destination within the city. Our vision is to create a contemporary, exclusive development, similar to the hugely successful Gotham Hotel in Manchester, which sympathetically combines the heritage of the building whilst giving it a new lease of life.
“We considered it of extreme importance to retain city-based architects who would not only understand the importance of the building locally but who could also develop a creative and sustainable design to stand out in the modern marketplace. We believe rg+p has achieved the perfect blend and are excited to see the development enter the next phase.”
Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I very much welcome these plans, particularly the inclusion of a 92-room Aparthotel. This will be great for business users and families visiting the city and will offer an alternative to a more conventional hotel stay. With rg+p, the developer has chosen a long-established, local firm with a very successful track record. The former Fenwick’s building is an important and much-loved part of the city’s heritage, and I am very pleased to see these exciting plans progressing so quickly.”
Located in a conservation area, the building dates back to 1880 and was designed by well-known Victorian architect, Isaac Barradale. Part of the building, along Market Street and at the junction with Belvoir Street, is grade II listed.
James Badley, director at rg+p commented: “The proposed scheme has been carefully considered to sensitively restore the existing distinctive façades whilst creating high quality, luxury accommodation. We’ve worked closely with the planning team at Leicester City Council, conducting visual impact assessments to ensure the scheme complements the existing vernacular. Materials such as copper panelling, stainless steel and powder coated window frames have been incorporated to achieve this.
“Working on this project represents a fantastic opportunity to continue our investment in our home city; where our influence can be seen on much of the surrounding cityscape. We’re pleased to be part of the team transforming this iconic building for the future.”
Claire Day, director, Hybrid Planning & Development, who is managing the project team which also includes leading experts in heritage, transport and acoustics, added: “We’re pleased to be working in parallel with such a proactive local authority in seeking to bring a landmark building back into full and productive use. The scheme will not only preserve the special character and architectural integrity of the building but also improve the vitality of this part of the city, ensuring Leicester continues to compete regionally.”
Aimrok Holdings already has a proven track record of similar restoration projects within the city, having successfully converted the Old Post Office on Bishop Street and premises on Millstone Lane into high quality student accommodation. The company is also currently working on another student accommodation scheme on Dover Street. Jason added: “Leicester is a vibrant place to live and work, full of originality. Our commitment to the city is long-term and together with our project partners we’re hoping for a positive outcome from this planning application.”