A DEVELOPER working with the city council on a wide-ranging £133m project became an active company only five months ago.
Steeltower Ltd wants to demolish Northgate Arena and construct a four star hotel in its place, with a replacement £16m flagship leisure facility created on the Greyhound Retail Park.
Prior to its name change in March, it was an 'off the shelf ' company called Pitcomp 372 according to Companies' House, formed in July of last year.
However, director Patrick Davies says Steeltower has actually existed since 2001 and simply did 'a name swap' with another of the group's firms as part of a restructuring needed to keep its financial backers happy.
The city council says it is 'completely conventional' to form a new company for such development packages.
The developer and the council are consulting the public over the proposals which also include:
* 700 new homes - 300-plus affordable and 400 open market * New fire stations in the city centre and at Blacon * 100 acre country park at Sealand Meadows * community swimming pool south of the city * an art gallery in Frodsham Street in its own piazza nnew refreshments pavilion and toilets in Grosvenor Park.
City council spokeswoman Kathryn McGiveron offered reassurances about Steeltower explaining that the company was funded by Babcock and Brown and Barclays Bank.
She added: 'Hilton Hotels have committed to the project and have an arrangement with Steeltower to build hotels in six cities across the UK, one of which is in Chester.'
She said an exhibition outlining the proposals was on display in Chester City Council's Forum offices as part of a public consultation.
'The proposals offer a great opportunity to provide new facilities for Chester people to enjoy,' she said.
Company director Mr Davies said he, chairman Lord Mark Birdwood and finance director Bob Ferguson had more than 100 years' business experience between them.
He said: 'We are looking forward, subject to the approval of full council, to creating a substantial number of new buildings for the people of Chester which have been a long held wish for Chester City and are not buildings that would normally be at the top of funding priorities.'