Based in Singapore, The Fragrance Group is already converting the former Municipal Buildings in Liverpool into a £40m hotel and it has now acquired a second city centre venue. Tony McDonough reports
International property investor The Fragrance Group has acquired The Aloft Hotel in Liverpool city centre.
Built more than 100 years ago on the corner of Dale Street and North John Street, the building was originally the headquarters of the Royal Insurance Company. It was converted into the 116-bedroom Aloft Hotel which opened in October 2014.
Joint agents Colliers and CBRE secured the sale with The Fragrance Group which owns property in Europe, Asia and Australia. The price was not disclosed but the building had been put on the market with a price tag of £12m.
It is the second deal for the Singapore-based company in the city. It is currently converting the former Municipal Buildings just a few yards away in Dale Street into a hotel in a £40m project.
Designed by architect James F Doyle in a Neo-Baroque style, the Grade II-listed building was constructed between 1896 and 1903. It was constructed around a steel frame, one of the earliest of this type in the UK.
Its offices were vacated in the late 1980s and the building fell into disrepair. At one point it was placed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register. Liverpool City Council acquired the freehold in 2013.
The four-star Aloft Hotel also offers two bars and restaurants together with several meeting/conference suites. It is operated under the Aloft franchise (part of Marriott Group) by RBH Hospitality Management and it turns over almost £4m a year.
Martin Rogers of Global Hotels & Leisure Consultancy, which represents Fragrance Group, said: “This was another strategic acquisition for The Fragrance Group in the UK.
“Mr Koh first visited Liverpool in 2018 and subsequently purchased The Municipal Building from Liverpool City Council, which we are now converting into a luxury 186-bedroom Hotel due to open in October next year.”
Julian Troup, head of hotels agency at Colliers, added: “Our instructions were to proceed in a confidential manner, and unsurprisingly significant interest was soon generated in this iconic hotel.
“The considerable level of interest follows a pattern of increasing demand for UK provincial hotels, particularly for global branded stock, and as a result a competitive bidding process was run amongst several overseas and domestic bidders.”