April 13, 2016 @ 18:10 by Alison Cowie
Local developer seals the deal for a £15m conversion in Durham city centre
Local businessman and commercial property developer Kevin Brown and his business partner Shaun Crawley have successfully completed a £15 million deal with Maven Capital Partners for the sale and refurbishment of the Grade II listed Shire Hall in Durham city centre.
Originally built in 1896 as the headquarters for Durham County Council, Shire Hall will be sympathetically renovated into a Hotel Indigo, the up-market, boutique brand of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), with a 150-cover Marco Pierre White (MPW) Steakhouse Bar & Grill.
The conversion will create an 81-bedroomed 4-star boutique hotel and is set to generate up to 60 new jobs in the city. The hotel will be managed by market leading Interstate Hotels and Resorts.
Kevin Brown, who bought Shire Hall in 2014 and secured planning permission for its redevelopment, will work alongside Shaun Crawley through their joint venture Elvet Developments Ltd (EDL) to lead the renovation and refurbishment on behalf of Maven Capital Partners.
EDL have appointed Gordon Brewis from Durham-based architects Howarth Litchfield as lead designer on the project.
Developer Kevin Brown said: “It’s taken just over a year to find the right buyer and broker the deal. 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 best in the UK with an enviable international reputation. Tourism plays a significant part in Durham’s economy, but there is a widely recognised shortage of quality hotel accommodation. The new hotel will meet the need for high quality accommodation in the city centre and also provide another prestigious eatery with its Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill.
“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.”
A fine example of late Victorian architecture, the property boasts a number of impressive period features such as the grand tiled marble staircases, wood panelling and stained glass windows that will be retained and form the basis for the 81 en-suite bedrooms. The circular debating chamber and lobby room will also be retained, providing an iconic setting for a cocktail bar and the MPW restaurant.
The refurbishment of Shire Hall is expected to take 15 months, with the hotel being scheduled to open in the autumn of 2017.
Ramsay Duff, Investment Director at Maven, one of the UK’s most active private equity and property fund managers, who led the deal said: “Maven is delighted to be involved in this prestigious project, bringing such a magnificent building back into use and allowing us to further develop our relationships with IHG and the Hotel Indigo brand, Interstate and MPW.
“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.
“These deals are challenging to pull together and we are grateful for the support of our developer partners, bank, legal and tax advisors and of course for the on-going support of our investors.”
Robert Crook, Interstate’s Managing Director for the UK, added: “We are delighted to being working alongside Maven Capital Partners on such a unique and significant project, and look forward to working alongside the owners to realise the full potential of what is sure to be an exceptional hotel.”
Nick Taplin, Chief Executive at Black & White Hospitality, who own the franchise rights to MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill, said: “This is our third development with Maven Capital after Glasgow and Cardiff and we’re delighted to be continuing a very strong business relationship together.
“Marco and I have been eager to find a suitable location in the city for some time. We know that Durham has a real appetite for affordable glamour and restaurants that offer top quality dishes in a sumptuous environment, at a price to suit all budgets.”