Lawrence Kenwright, founder of the Liverpool-based hotel operator and developer, says he is looking to raise around £57m to fund the company’s further expansion. Tony McDonough reports
Signature Living is putting its two flagship Liverpool hotels – 30 James Street and The Shankly – up for sale with a combined price tag of £57m.
Company founder Lawrence Kenwright said he was selling the city centre hotels to raise capital to fund further expansion. Signature will this year open the Dixie Dean Hotel, opposite the Shankly, later this year.
It is also pushing forward with multi-million pound hotel and residential schemes in Manchester, Preston, Cardiff and Bristol as well as plans for a party cruise ship on the Mediterranean and is pledging to create 1,500 new jobs.
He also promised all the small investors who had helped fund the hotels would get the returns on their investments once the hotels were sold. Signature is seeking around £40m for the Shankly and £17m for 30 James Street.
The news comes just days after Mr Kenwright announced he was taking full control of 30 James Street which opened its doors in 2014 and which he says now has a 96% occupancy rate.
Built in 1898 as the headquarters of Titanic owner White Star Line, Signature completed the conversion of the Grade II-listed Albion House into a 63-bedroom hotel in 2014, funding the project using a fractional sales model where investors bought individual rooms.
The Shankly, a 125-bedroom hotel located in a former city council building in Victoria Street, welcomed its first guests in 2016 and was themed around the legendary former Liverpool FC manager, Bill Shankly.
Mr Kenwright said: “Signature Living have developed and operated two of Liverpool’s most successful hotels ever with 30 James Street and Shankly. Their numerous awards and phenomenal occupancy rates are testament to that. Both hotels are now famous all over the world.
“The hotels are huge tourism beacons in their own right, turning over incredible profits and now valued incredibly highly. The profits from the sale of the hotels will allow us to fuel our major expansion plans as we aim to add another 10 hotels to our portfolio, along with increasing our workforce from 1,400 employees to 3,000 in the next 18 months.
“There is already huge international interest in purchasing the hotels from us. We are carefully considering options and over the last couple of days have discussed our decision with employees and other stakeholders. This is an exciting new era for Signature Living. We’re positively looking forward to the future – a future that involves new flagship hotels not only in Liverpool but all over the UK.”