Ambitious £10 million plans to transform Preston’s tallest tower into a hotel, casino and spa have been approved by the city council.
Chief architects and master-planners, the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), have designed a glittering new future for the 15-storey Guild Tower – the latest in a succession of good news stories for Lancashire’s biggest city.
FWP is leading the rejuvenation of some of the city’s most important assets including the historic Victorian Market and the iconic 1970s Guild Hall complex.
Now, the city’s leading multi-disciplinary architecture and construction firm has successfully steered plans to transform Preston’s tallest office building into a stylish 105-room aparthotel with a casino, spa and gym.
Seb Salisbury, architect at FWP, is leading the transformation of the Guild Hall and the Guild Tower, which will be rebranded as Villa Urban. It is strategically placed next to the famous bus station, itself undergoing a major restoration and the addition of a Youth Zone.
He said the aparthotel will bring a new style of accommodation to the city centre in keeping with hotel trends in big cities across the UK and Europe.
The rooms have been designed to increase in size with the height of the building. The top four levels offer large 100 sq metre-plus luxury suites with viewing balconies overlooking the city, duplex spaces and entertainment and cinema rooms.
The plans include a 900 sq m casino on the first floor and a 500 sq m spa and leisure area as well as dedicated parking and drop off areas.
FWP’s proposals also include the creation of a new eye-catching entrance point into the Guild Hall, replacing the present bus station underpass.
The exterior of the building would also be transformed with a subtle ‘weave’ effect façade – described by FWP as “contemporary interpretation of Preston’s industrial past and an abstract representation of a cotton fabric pattern”.
Seb Salisbury said: “We are delighted our plans for the Guild Tower have been approved and we look forward to delivering this ambitious and visionary regeneration scheme to transform this part of Preston city centre.
“We’re already seeing that take shape in the way it is breathing new life into the Guild Hall and the start of a new Market Quarter nearby. These are exciting times for Preston and Villa Urban simply adds to the conviction that positive things are happening in the city centre.
“We have designed a stylish mixed-use development with a modern aparthotel that will attract visitors into the city centre, along with a casino and spa and gym facilities that are also designed to complement Guild Hall complex’s role as a 21st-century leisure destination.”
The confirmation of planning consent for the Guild Tower project comes just weeks after the latest exciting phase of the multi-million pound transformation of the Guild Hall, created by FWP, was also given the go-ahead by planners.
FWP’s plan is to convert the basement and ground floor levels of the venue into a 10-pin bowling alley, nine-hole crazy golf course, karaoke booths, a sports bar and dining room as part of an ambitious masterplan for the gradual redevelopment of the 1970s venue, which involves the creation of modern, attractive restaurants and bars as well as redesigning the external areas.
FWP has been involved in the Guild Hall project from day one. It is one of the biggest architecture, design and project management practices in the region. As with all its work on the Guild Hall, the plan is to give a 21st-century feel to the iconic 1970s entertainment venue.
Seb added: “The Guild Tower is currently unloved and poorly used in the context of the surrounding buildings and public realm.
“Our masterplan will revitalise this part of the city centre and will complement the significant improvements to the bus station and surrounding area.
“The Guild Hall complex needs more uses and better connectivity to once again become a venue that is very close to the hearts of many Prestonians. In all our designs and concepts we are committed to breathing new life into what had become a tired building.
“Our work seeks to better connect the Guild Hall with the public and the city centre, drawing more people in to its growing list of attractions. The Guild Tower proposal is part of this vision.”
For further information, please visit: www.fwpgroup.co.uk