Developer receivership puts £25m hotel project in doubt

Plans for a £25m hotel in the former George Henry Lee building in Liverpool are thrown into doubt as the developer behind the scheme is placed in receivership. Tony McDonough reports

Basnett Street
Former George Henry Lee store in Basnett Street in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


Plans to turn the former George Henry Lee department store in Liverpool into a £25m hotel are now in doubt after developer Landlab Developments was placed in receivership.

Documents filed on Companies House London-based Antony Batty & Company appointed as the official receiver of the business which has its registered address in Mossley Hill in south Liverpool.

In October last year Landlab secured planning consent from Liverpool City Council for the scheme which would see the building at 20-48 Basnett Street converted into a 175-bed Accor hotel. It would operate under the Mama Shelter brand.

When a business goes into receivership this usually means a bank or lender is taking control of the company to recover a debt. This could lead to assets being sold to pay off owed funds.

George Henry Lee opened a shop in Liverpool in 1853. It became one of the north of England’s top department stores.

John Lewis bought the business in 1940 and in the 1960s merged it with the Bon Marche store next door. However, the George Henry Lee name continued to adorn the building until it was dropped in 2002.

Following the departure of John Lewis the Bon Marche outlet become TX Maxx. Another well known Liverpool retailer, Rapid Hardware moved into the building but the business collapsed in 2013. It reopened as Rapid Discount Outlet but closed for good in 2017.

Various schemes have been put forward for the building including previously abandoned plans for a hotel.

As part of this latest scheme the 153,000 sq ft space will be transformed into 175 rooms as well as a sports bar concept, Spa Mama Skin, karaoke rooms, 10-pin bowling, a Cinemama, co-working space and rooftop bar and restaurant.

READ MORE: Liverpool developer sets £150m projects target

Speaking in August Vic Alfa, UK director of Landlab, said: “As a Liverpudlian, I’m incredibly proud and excited to be bringing Mama Shelter to my hometown. Having worked with Accor for the best part of 10 years, Mamas is a brand our team knows well

“With its colour, vibrancy, and off-the-wall approach, it will inject life and energy back into one of the city’s most iconic buildings and offer something completely new to the people of Liverpool and visitors to this amazing city.”

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