News - North West

Downing resurrects Scandinavia Hotel vision

A long-running plan to redevelop a vacant hotel building in Liverpool city centre has been resurrected again as proposed student accommodation.

Property development and investment group Downing has submitted new plans to build 241 bedrooms and retail units in the Scandinavia Hotel, in Nelson Street.

Downing's GDM Developments has worked with Liverpool architects' firm Shedkm since 2000 on ideas for the four-storey building which dates back to the 1859.

In 2002, it lodged plans for a 80-bed boutique hotel, commercial units and apartment tower then in 2011 the site was all set to become a 180-bedroom Marriott Hotel but the plan never materialised.

Previous proposals for the site involved demolition of the majority of the building but Downing said in a design statement its latest incarnation would keep as much of the existing structure and fabric as possible.

"Careful analysis of the existing structural grid, fenestration and floor heights has led us to conclude that conversion to student accommodation, with complimentary and supporting uses at ground level, is an appropriate and sensible match, requiring relatively straightforward intervention," the statement said.

The plan would see a 'void' created in the centre of the building to allow natural light in while a full height entrance with new lifts, staircases and bridges is proposed.

Infill buildings in Nelson Street would demolished which would open up the "lost" Cummings Street link, connecting Chinatown to the East Village complex, Ropewalks area and Liverpool One, Downing said.

Downing's development director Paul Houghton said: "As one of the country's most experienced developers of student housing, with projects in Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, London and Cambridge, we are looking forward using our knowledge and expertise to bring forward a student scheme."

If given the green light, the project would join a burgeoning group of student accommodation developments unveiled across Liverpool in recent months.

The outcome of the planning application is expected in April.

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