A former Woolworths shop in Manchester is set to be given a new lease of life after plans to turn it into a hotel, restaurant and retail complex were approved.
Associated Property Investors (API) announced that Leeds-based company GMI Construction had been bestowed with the £20 million contract which will see the rejuvenation of this former shop. Officials behind the plans said that the new structure will contain a 157-room Travelodge and a Morrisons convenience store, along with Nandos and Zizzi restaurants which they expect to create over 100 jobs, providing a significant boost to employment in the north-west city.
The building is situated in the heart of Piccadilly Gardens and was the scene of the Woolworths fire in 1979 which claimed the lives of around 500 people. It has gone on to be the focal point of an art exhibition by Elizabeth Price who won the Turner Prize for her video installation in 2012. Since then the building has remained empty. It sits on top of a Nobles Amusements and has been considered an eyesore.
However, these plans are designed to give it a substantial facelift, restoring it to its former glory and providing a host of amenities for people visiting Manchester. It is ideally situated for tourists given its close proximity to Piccadilly station as well as Metrolink connections to the likes of Salford, Bury, Oldham and Manchester Airport.
Paul Harvey, from Travelodge, said: "We are delighted to have secured this prime site in the heart of Manchester city centre.
"Manchester has traded very well over the past five years with a thriving leisure offering thanks to its strong retail offer, vibrant social scene, the Manchester Arena and the continued success of the city’s famous football clubs."
Planners expect work to get underway immediately with an earmarked completion date set for December 2013 just in time for the traditionally busy Christmas period around the north-west city, which attracts visitors from all over the country and further afield.
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