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Liverpool bank which hid gold from the Nazis to open as £50m hotel

By Michelle Perrett , 15-Feb-2016
Last updated on 15-Feb-2016 at 13:49 GMT2016-02-15T13:49:11Z

Liverpool bank which hid gold from the Nazis to open as £50m hotel

Liverpool is to get its first five-star luxury hotel at the Martins Bank building with a £50m investment from hotel and conference operator Principal Hayley. 

The investment, from the Starwood Capital Group owned operator, includes the purchase of Castlewood Securities, which has owned the building for 20 years as well as the conversion of the Grade II-listed property.

Work will start on the project this year, which will see the building transformed into a luxury hotel with a spa, bar and fine dining restaurant. The site has a potential opening in late 2017 or early 2018.

The development will create 200 long term jobs and about 350 construction jobs over the next two years.

The acquisition follows a wider £100m strategic repositioning of Principal Hayley Group’s iconic city-centre properties. The Royal York Hotel in York and The George Hotel in Edinburgh have both recently reopened following extensive renovations. An additional multi-million-pound investment is planned for Principal Hayley Group’s manor-house conference properties in 2016.

“The Martins Bank building provides us with a strategically important presence in the heart of the Liverpool market, where there is a clear consumer need for a full-service luxury hotel and events space,” said Tony Troy, Principal Hayley Group’s CEO.

“Following a very successful year in 2015, we are looking forward to undertaking the redevelopment of this wonderful building  - together with the development of our other key city centre ‘grand-dame’ hotels - and to sharing our exciting plans for the future.”

Troy said it was the city’s recent renaissance and record in attracting business and leisure visitors that made the investment possible.

The building, which is considered one of the finest classical buildings built in the interwar period, was designed by noted architect Herbert James Rowse and completed in 1932. 

Much of the country's gold reserve was secretly transferred to the building at the start of the Second World War in order to hide it from any Nazi invasion. A plaque outside the building commemorates the operation, which was dramatised by the Emmy-winning film The Bullion Boys.

The site had already obtained full planning and Listed Building consent for the proposed development.

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