WORK is about to start on a multi-million pound hotel in Wrexham.
The £7.6m 85-bedroomed hotel will be the first Ramada Plaza Hotel in the United Kingdom and will include conference facilities with meeting rooms catering for up to 200 people, a restaurant, lounge and bar area and swimming pool with mini gym facilities.
The long-awaited development will bring a massive boost to the town in terms of tourism and new jobs.
Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport, cut the first turf on site to mark the commitment by all partners.
He said: 'This major development is an excellent example of the private and public sector working together to achieve a common aim.
'As part of the internationally-recognised Ramada brand, this new hotel gives Wrexham a great opportunity to continue increasing its share of UK and overseas visitors, especially in the short breaks and business tourism markets.'
He added: 'The support of the Assembly Government and its agencies in getting this project off the ground clearly shows our commitment to increasing prosperity across the whole of Wales.'
The proposed Ramada Plaza Wrexham will be owned and operated by QN Hotels Group whose portfolio includes the Holiday Inn Newport, South Wales.
Mr Nabeel Ahmed, director of QN Hotels said: 'We are pleased work is due to start on what will be a prestigious hotel development. This will be our second hotel in Wales and fits in with our plans to expand our business holdings in strategic locations such as Wrexham.
'We are grateful to all involved in this project and particularly to our bankers Allied Irish Bank (GB) for showing the support and flexibility in making this deal happen.'
Philip Evans, chairman of the Wales Tourist Board said: 'The Wales Tourist Board is delighted to support the Wrexham Hotel project. We identified this project as an investment that would deliver a substantial return by helping to grow the market and give Wales a competitive edge.
'Strategic and focused investment, the encouragement of innovation and best practice, is the key to developing the mature and prosperous tourism industry that can compete in the international arena.'
He added: 'In 2002/3, the WTB invested £11.8m in 211 tourism businesses, generating total investment of £41.1m and creating or safeguarding more than 859 full-time equivalent jobs. We look forward to working with all partners concerned to make sure the hotel develops as a leading hotel within its class, which will put Wrexham and North Wales firmly on the map.'
Shân Wilkinson, Leader of Wrexham Council said: 'It is great to see a project which has been on our wish-list for so long come to fruition.
'Tourism is an increasingly important sector of Wrexham's economy and in particular there is potential for us to develop conference tourism. This prestigious development will enable the town to host residential conferences that are currently lost to the area.'
'I'm grateful for the support of Wales Tourist Board, and to David McLean for the faith and confidence shown in Wrexham over a long period. I wish QN Hotels every success.'
The development is expected to be open for business in June 2005.