Mall owners HIG Chester Property Sarl want to transform vacant retail and office space at the Pepper Street entrance into a hotel with bar and restaurant.
There had been speculation over a possible hotel as an alternative to plans for a second phase of Chester’s dining quarter.
That’s because only one potential restaurant occupier came forward. However, the undisclosed operator would still be accommodated alongside the hotel with its own separate bar and restaurant.
A planning statement accompanying the application confirms: “The hotel will be operated by Premier Inn and the bar-restaurant will be part of their ‘Bar and Block’ brand. It is proposed that works will commence as soon as practicable following the grant of planning permission.”
Another document highlights the original plan for the space was a second dining quarter opposite the first phase on the opposite side of the road.
But it adds: “However, as has been widely reported in recent months, the dining sector is facing a challenging trading environment and it has become increasingly difficult to attract tenants to occupy the new units that were proposed on the north side of Pepper Street.
“Following a market review, the owners of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre have found strong interest from a hotel operator to take occupation of the remaining ground, first and second floors of Pepper House to provide additional bedrooms and a new bar and restaurant to make better use of this building.”
The Premier Inn would be across the road from where rival Travelodge is creating a 112-bed hotel in a conversion of Windsor House.
Premier Inn, which already operates a hotel in City Road, is being cagey about its expansion plan.
A spokesman said last month: “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.”