Carlisle City Council is inviting developers to come forward with ‘expressions of interest’ for the former Central Plaza hotel.
They are seeking developers with the necessary skills and experience to deliver this ‘challenging and unique opportunity’. A development brief, drawn together by the council, says: “The Central Plaza is a Grade II listed former hotel located within the heart of Carlisle city centre. The prominent 0.2-acre site offers an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into the building or to create a new addition to the city centre.”
The hotel closed in 2004 and has remained vacant since. Several failed attempts to redevelop the property have left the building in poor condition. As the building is ownerless (it is currently in escheat but rests with the Crown Estate) emergency work to improve structural safety was undertaken by Carlisle City Council under the Building Act 1984.
Developers have shown interest in the redevelopment of the hotel however, none have progressed to an advanced stage.
Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr Colin Glover, said:
“Although the building is not in the City Council’s ownership, we appreciate the importance of the site and have been working hard to support development of the site. We are still in discussions with potential developers but would like to explore all options to ensure the best outcome for Carlisle. Given its condition we have an open mind, although we would like to see the building retained if possible.”
Carlisle City Council is not the owner of the building and, whilst supportive of moving development forward, has only statutory rather than legal duties in respect of the building. As part of the process, the City Council will consider:
- Assistance in acquiring the site;
- Coordinating stakeholder interest and engagement;
- Identifying and assisting in accessing funding; and
- Advising on planning and heritage matters within the wider city centre regeneration context.
The closing date of receipt of initial expressions of interest is Monday 31 December 2018. At this stage, the prospective interested party is asked to include the following in their submission:
- Proposed team;
- Relevant experience;
- Concept proposals for the site; and
- Indicative programme.
More information is available at www.carlisle.gov.uk/centralplaza and information regarding expressions of interest can be found on www.the-chest.org.uk