£40m Liverpool hotel project hits major milestone

Singapore-based hotel specialist Fragrance Group is converting the Grade II-listed former Municipal Buildings in Liverpool into a luxury hotel in a £40m scheme. Tony McDonough reports

Fragrance Group
The former Municipal Buildings in Liverpool is being converted into a £40m hotel


A project to convert Liverpool’s former Municipal Buildings into a £40m luxury hotel has reached a major milestone.

Singapore-based hotel specialist Fragrance Group acquired the Grade II-listed building in Dale Street from Liverpool City Council. It was the council’s main headquarters until staff were relocated to Cunard Building on the waterfront.

Main contractor Russell WBHO has completed installation of the steel frame for a new four-storey extension to the building’s rear. It will house the hotel’s swimming pool, gym and spa, lift core and some of the 179 luxury guest suites. There will also be a private drop-off entrance for VIP guests.

The extension is sandwiched between the existing 1868 building and a neighbouring multi-storey car park, making access and installation challenging. The team utilised a mobile crane to create the two four-storey towers and the connecting infill section which will hold the first-floor pool.

The steelwork structure is mostly independent of the original building, but connects via link corridors and dedicated spa and pool entrance. Gareth Russell, joint managing director of Russell WBHO, said: “The extension is an integral part of this project, providing guests with the high-end spa facilities they’d expect in a hotel of this calibre.

“Linking the new steel frame to the existing structure was particularly challenging given the Grade II-listing of the Municipal Buildings.

Fragrance Group
Steel-framed extension at the back of Municipal Buildings in Liverpool
Fragrance Group
Members of the project team on the £40m Municipal Buildings conversion


“But, thanks to our collaboration with the architects, structural engineers and the support of the city’s heritage officers, the installation has been a great success and provides us with a moment worth marking, to thank the whole project team for their hard work.”

Installation of the bronze effect glazed cladding is due to start soon, while the original building continues to undergo cleaning and careful restoration of the existing stone, brickwork, and timber windows behind scaffolding protection.

The refurbishment of the building, and the addition of an extension, have been designed by Liverpool-based architect Falconer Chester Hall.

Director Alastair Shepherd added: “This is an incredible historic building and all of the new-build elements will be clad to complement the existing façade, I’m really looking forward to revealing the blend of old and new as the project progresses.

“The steel framework is key to the new-build element and will support additional bedrooms and an exciting new leisure offering.  It’s visible from the surrounding streets so people are now getting more of a sense of the vast progress that has been made.”

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