Former Liverpool John Lewis building to become £25m luxury hotel as plans approved

The cherished Liverpool building’s interior will undergo a £25 million redevelopment and be transformed into a Parisian hotel.

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Plans to transform the iconic George Henry Lee buildings in Liverpool city centre into a luxury hotel, restaurant and sky bar have been given the green light.

On Tuesday (October 24), permission was granted to change the use of the former George Henry Lee buildings on Basnett Street, off Williamson Square, which have been largely vacant for about 15 years. The property comprises more than 153,000 sq ft of floorspace over nine floors across three interlinked buildings.

The plans will see the creation of Accor’s ‘Mama Shelter’ concept - the brand’s first hotel in the North of England and the second in the UK.

Started in 2008 in Paris as a concept developed by Serge Trigano and his two sons, Jérémie and Benjamin. Mama Shelter offer hotels that are affordable and fun.

Mama Shelter, LondonMama Shelter, London
Mama Shelter, London

Under the plans drawn up by Curious, the building’s interior will undergo a £25 million redevelopment which will see the 153,000 sq. ft space transformed into 175 rooms as well as 10-pin bowling, a cinema, sports bar, spa, co-working space and a rooftop bar and more. The exterior of the complex will remain largely unchanged but benefit from refurbishment.

The sixth floor of one of the buildings will become the hotel’s main restaurant while some extensions are proposed, including a glass-walled enclosure atop the property closest to Clayton Square which will allow 360 degree views of Liverpool.

Planning permission was secured in 2019 for a similar application but this was not progressed. Previously drawn up proposals also included a Casino, but this has now been omitted.

Members of Liverpool Council’s planning committee gave their assent to the latest plans at a meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday, October 24. Councillors unanimously agreed to back the plans.

The applicant, Richard Gee, said Mama Shelter – which signed a deal to bring the brand to the city in June – would bring “fun, sassiness, I’ve heard sexiness said” with facilities “not just for rich guests.”

About the George Henry Lee Building: The George Henry Lee building has been largely vacant in recent years since John Lewis moved its operations to Liverpool One in 2008. Built in the mid-1800s, the building began as a bonnet store before being sold to John Lewis Partnership in 1940.

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