The scheme replaces former offices and ground floor retail. Credit: planning documents

Green light for Metropolitan House conversion

A boutique hotel and brasserie are lined up for the heritage building in Newcastle’s Collingwood Street, vacant for two years.

Applicant Kans and Kandy’s plans for the site were passed by with Newcastle City Council, asking for a change of use at the basement, ground and fifth floor levels (where there will be a garden terrace) from retail to drinking establishment, and for floors one to four to be converted from office space to hotel use.

The decision approving the scheme was published on 30 October. Hedley Planning Services is advising the applicant.

Although not listed, the 2,500 sq ft building is situated in a conservation area within Newcastle’s historic city core.

In its design & access statement, the applicant stressed that the building would not be used as a nightclub or for fast food, and that it would enhance the street scene.

With just 13 hotel rooms in a “landlocked” building just two minutes’ walk from Central Station, no parking is included, in line with similar hotels in the area.

According to the DAS, elements of the scheme will also include recording studios and karaoke in the bar area. The terrace will be accessible to private members.

With previous consents establishing the principle of development, the officers’ report noted that “the proposed scheme would bring a vacant building back into use and would add to the diversity of city centre uses” and that planning policy “seeks the provision of a range of hotels and the proposal would add to the range on offer in the city”.

Hedley has found some success with boutique hotel or aparthotel projects in historic Newcastle city centre buildings this year, advancing 13-unit projects for Panther Properties in Clayton Street and Belgravia at 1 Old Eldon Square, which secured consent in April.

Sean Hedley, managing director of the consultancy, said: “This is a project which will enhance both Collingwood Street and the wider locality and is another major city centre regeneration initiative representing a significant contribution to the vitality and vibrancy of an important economic sector.

“Redevelopment designs will retain the historic character of the building with sensitive refurbishment and sustainable reuse of the vacant property to create a prestigious unique boutique hotel and brasserie for Newcastle.”

On-site construction work is expected to start in early 2024.

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Nice pic, better than it being empty!

By Carrie Oakey

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