Work Starts on Bringing London Road First Station Manchester Back to Life

Date: August 2018

Location: Whitworth Street, Manchester, UK

Name: Zetter Manchester? opening 2019

No. of Keys: 91, plus offices, apartments, a cinema, a luxury spa and bars and restaurants.

Seller: The London Road Fire Station was built in 1906 and has been left standing empty ever since it was closed in 1986.

Britannia Hotels announced in 2015 their intention to sell the listed building opening up the possibility of redevelopment after nearly 30 years of dereliction.

Developer: Allied London has announced its intention to refurbish the building on the corner of Whitworth Street.

Operator: London based Zetter Group. In August 2016, Michael Benyan, The Zetter Group’s director, said: “We are delighted to have finally found the perfect opportunity to open a Zetter property in Manchester. London Road is an iconic building and a real gift for us as hoteliers.

“We want to preserve the existing beauty and magic of the building and use it to help create a unique experience for our guests. Allied London should also be applauded for their vision and ambition for the regeneration of the area – it’s an exciting project to be a part of.”

The Zetter Group will team up with interior designers Russell Sage Studios to bring the vision for the hotel to life. Russell Sage Studios is famed for designing The Goring Hotel’s Royal Suite, a number of Jason Atherton’s and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, as well as on the interiors for two Zetter Townhouse projects and its Grain Store.

Michael Ingall, chief executive of London Road’s developer Allied London, said: “We were delighted with the level of interest shown in London Road and humbled by the brands who took the time to travel to view the building and submit proposals.

“Ultimately, however, we were taken by the hands on approach of the Zetter owners, which we felt was vital in establishing London Road as the new benchmark for hospitality in Manchester.

“We are following the considered approach we have taken with our other projects, including Spinningfields, by working with owner/operators who have a religious approach to service, quality and brand. Zetter come in the top bracket of this group of people. I also look forward to working with interior designer, Russell Sage, someone I have admired for several years and is at the top of his game for interior design around the world.”

Allied London’s plans for the redevelopment of the iconic building also include 36 apartments, restaurants, a cinema and a New York-style digital art gallery centred around a central courtyard, part of which will be dug out to create a multi-purpose event space.

The work is being carried out in conjunction with the appointed historic consultant Steve Levrant from Historic Architecture alongside Historic England and Manchester City Council’s conservation team.

Allied London’s historic building surveyor Stephen Ellis, has worked on the project since planning consent was granted.

He said: “Time has been required to understand this heritage asset, explore its values and assess its significance, before we intelligently manage any change.

“We’ve been carrying out detailed surveys and analysis necessary to meet both planning and listed building consent conditions.

“As well as the work being done behind the scenes, we have importantly kept the building maintained and in constant use through various filming activities, tours and events.”

Mark Taylor, director at Watts Group, added: “Watts is delighted to be part of Allied London’s team now moving forward with the restoration of such a prominent building within the context of Manchester’s social and architectural heritage.

“It will be very rewarding to see a building of this quality brought back to life by Allied London.”

THPT Comment: It’s been a long time coming, but good to hear that this hotel will finally open…Britannia Hotels which had been land-banking it since 1986, and was forced by Manchester Council  to sell to Allied London in 2015 (handled by Christie & Co).

First Seen: The Business Desk