By Emma Pinckard
Old Shire Hall, the Grade II-listed property on Old Elvet, is set to be renovated over the next fifteen months and transformed into a Hotel Indigo after a £15 million agreement.
The building, originally constructed in 1896 to house Durham County Council, was used as the administrative headquarters of Durham University until 2012.
Old Shire Hall will be renovated and converted into a four-star hotel, which will include a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
Shire Hall, which was bought by commercial property developer Kevin Brown in 2014, will be refurbished by Mr Brown and local-based developer Shaun Crawley, alongside Maven Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm in the UK.
The plans for renovation include the creation of 81 bedrooms, but the building’s Victorian features, such as the marble staircases, stained glass windows, and wood panelling, are to be retained—along with the debating chamber, which will become a cocktail bar.
Mr Brown commented:
“From the outset it has been vital to find the right partners to produce an outstanding hotel for the city and equally as important to secure Shire Hall’s future and prevent any further deterioration and damage to the building.
“Durham enjoys strong demographics in terms of local spending power, with a key role played by Durham University, one of the best in the UK with an enviable international reputation.”
He continued to explain the advantages of the hotel for Durham, stating:
“On completion, the new hotel should attract up to 21,000 new visitors to the city annually and guests will enjoy the fantastic views of Durham Castle and Cathedral in the heart of Durham’s historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site.”
Ramsay Duff, an investment director at Maven, said:
“We anticipate that the Hotel Indigo at the historic Shire Hall will not only become a ‘must visit’ destination, but also address the demand that exists in the city for more high-quality hotel accommodation.”
The new Hotel Indigo will have the effect of creating around 60 jobs for the local area, and is scheduled to open in autumn 2017.
Photograph: Tom Bastin/ Creative Commons