A VISITOR experience centre is closer to becoming reality after two rival operators put forward their ideas.
Economic troubleshooters highlighted the need for a new visitor centre in a vision aimed at helping Chester make more of its attractions.
The Urban Land Institute suggested the crumbling Georgian building could be transformed into a Roman-themed history centre, with Roman remains exposed in the basement and on public view.
Dee House has always divided opinion because some believe it should be pulled down to reveal the rest of the amphitheatre but ULI argued its concept provided a compromise.
Rita Waters, chief executive of Chester Renaissance, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council has received two proposals and is working through the financial aspects.
“Hopefully they should be able to make a decision on whether to take one, both or none forward. It’s a long process. It’s not just a case of saying OK, there are major implications for the site that it will take quite a while to consider.
“If they do make a decision I would hope to take the proposal to the next board meeting in May.”
Mrs Waters confirmed the centre would have an historical theme, possibly Roman. “It’s not going to be Disneyland,” she added.
“It will be state-of-the-art, fit for a global city like Chester. Having said all that it would need to meet English Heritage’s expectations and financial expectations. It can’t be static. We wouldn’t want people to go there in 10 years and see the same stuff there.”
Renaissance has not ruled out combining a visitor centre and hotel on the site.
Merlin Entertainments Group, who operate the London Eye and Alton Towers, confirmed it is not involved despite a previous suggestion it may be approached about the scheme.