Hotel go-ahead for Grade II Victorian building

Originally built in the 1870s and housing the well known Doctor Duncan’s pub, this Liverpool office building played a key role in the city’s recent renaissance and will become a boutique hotel. Tony McDonough reports

No 2 Queen Square which is to be converted into a boutique hotel


Owners of a Victorian building in Liverpool that played a pivotal role in the city’s recent renaissance have secured planning consent to turn it into a hotel.

Built in the 1870s, Number 2 Queen Square is Grade II-listed and was formerly the regional headquarters for Pearl Assurance. It was designed by Liverpool-born architect Alfred Waterhouse who was the leading exponent of the ‘Gothic revival’.

In the mid-1990s it was at the centre of the original regeneration of Queen Square, a multi-million pound commercial project that was credited as a catalyst for the rebirth of Liverpool city centre after decades of decay.

It is the headquarters of what was then known as Neptune Developments, which was behind the transformation of Queen Square. It created a number of bars, restaurants and a Marriott Hotel on the site of what had become known as The Gyratory.

Neptune has since rebranded as Promenade Estates. The company was also behind the more recent regeneration of New Brighton waterfront.

It first proposed to convert Number 2 Queen Square into a 43-bedroom boutique hotel back in 2019 and it has now secured consent from Liverpool City Council to take the project forward.

On the ground floor of the building is the popular Doctor Duncan’s pub. It was named after William Henry Duncan, Liverpool’s first medical health officer. The pub itself dates back to 1901 and will be unaffected by the scheme. It has recently undergone a £250,000 refurbishment.

Speaking back in 2019, Daniel Hynd, managing director of Promenade Estates, said: “We’re going to add something special to Liverpool’s hotel offer in a location and a building that are second to none.

“This is a very special location that benefits from great infrastructure and heritage on its doorstep.  As investors in all the hotels we’ve developed we’ve got a great feel for the Liverpool market and look forward to taking the project forward.”

The building’s original refurbishment was undertaken by the Liverpool studio of Falconer Chester Hall (FCH), which has been retained to design the new hotel.

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