Singapore developer to turn Liverpool’s Municipal Buildings into a four-star hotel

City council put the Grade II-listed site in Dale Street up for sale last October as it seeks to find £90m worth of savings over the next three years. Tony McDonough reports.

Municipal Buildings in Dale Street, Liverpool city centre
Municipal Buildings in Dale Street, Liverpool city centre

A Singapore-based property group is set turn Liverpool City Council’s former headquarters into a four-star hotel.

The council put the Grade II-listed Municipal Buildings in Dale Street up for sale last October as it seeks to find £90m worth of savings over the next three years.

Municipal Buildings has space for 1,000 people but only 640 employees remain there with the authority’s HQ now at Cunard Building on the waterfront. It first became the council’s main base in the 1860s.

Large portfolio

A report going to the council’s cabinet on Friday, February 3, is recommending the sale to Fragrance Group Limited (FGL), a Singapore-based property company, be approved.

FGL has a portfolio of more than 80 projects with overseas development properties including Premier Tower, a skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia, but this will be its first acquisition in Europe.

Municipal Buildings which has unique design features of the Italian and French renaissance, is to be sold on a 250-year lease

The building, which opened in 1866, is expected to be handed over in spring. The hotel, subject to planning permission, would also include a restaurant.

‘Magnificent home’

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Municipal Building has been a magnificent home for Liverpool City Council since the 1860s but we no longer have the staff numbers to justify retaining it.

“I’m delighted we have a buyer of international repute who is looking to use Liverpool to break into the UK and European hotel market.

“This will have a great impact in terms of generating jobs and boosting our international appeal.

“We will work with FGL to ensure that its future use protects the building’s unique architectural features, as we have done with the neighbouring Municipal Annexe and Royal Insurance Building which have also recently been brought back into use as four star hotels.”

The building is on three floors with an extensive basement, and covers 11,494 square metres.

The One Stop Shop based in Municipal Building will be relocated to a self-contained unit within the refurbished St John’s Market.

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