Premier Inn wants to launch a second Chester hotel but won’t confirm rumours the company aims to open across the road from its Travelodge rival.
The chain, which opened its City Road hotel in 2009, says it is considering ‘other opportunities’ in the city but there are ‘no concrete plans’.
The Chronicle contacted Premier Inn following speculation the company had shown interest in occupying empty space within Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Pepper Street.
This was after plans to establish phase two of Chester’s dining quarter fell flat – only one potential occupier is waiting in the wings.
Premier Inn would not confirm the possible link to Pepper Street which would be almost opposite where a second Travelodge is being built in a conversion of Windsor House.
But a spokesman said: “Chester is a strong market for us and we are looking at other opportunities in the city, however we have no concrete plans at the moment.“
Alex Brooker, director, head of asset management at Ellandi Management Ltd, said on behalf of Grosvenor Shopping Centre: “There are a number of parties we’ve been talking to. We are looking at a number of different options to try and do something with that space. It’s particularly unsightly and has been vacant for a while.
“We need to re-imagine what we are doing in the city centre and need to look at all the options and the fact Travelodge is over the way. There is reasonable demand for hotel accommodation in Chester, which is a very popular place.”
However, he cautioned that it would be necessary to carry out further research to check if the building was suitable for a hotel and whether one would be ‘financially viable’ at that location.
In December we reported only one potential occupant had been secured for what had expected to become the second phase of Chester’s dining quarter opposite the first phase where Las Iguanas, Opera Grill, Coast to Coast and Chimichanga are located.
Planning consent is in place for a total of five new restaurants but work hasn’t started.
Whatever happens with the possible hotel option, Mr Brooker indicated at least one new restaurant is still on the cards but he’s not giving away any names.
“One is leading the pack but has not yet made it to the finishing line,” he said.
Shopping centre owners HIG Chester Property Sarl were recently granted an amendment to the original planning consent so two ground floor units can merge into one larger space to accommodate the undisclosed restaurant operator.