A restaurant brand with a celebrity chef at its helm will be part of a new hotel to be built in Blackpool.
Council chiefs have confirmed a franchise of ‘Marco’s New York Italian’ will operate in the Holiday Inn which will be part of phase two of the Talbot Gateway.
The brand is part of the stable of restaurants operated by chef Marco Pierre White.
The chain had signed up previously when a new hotel was earmarked for land currently occupied by St John’s car park on East Topping Street.
That scheme was scrapped and the development is now set to built on the site of the Wilko’s store on Talbot Road.
Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, said: “This is a brand which has a reputation for quality and people will recognise Marco Pierre White as a renowned chef.
“We already have a good selection of Italian restaurants in Blackpool but this will bring a new dynamic in.”
The council has approved a 10-year franchise agreement with the ‘Marco’s New York Italian’ brand.
The first phase of the Talbot Gateway already includes Mr Basrai’s World Cuisine, but some units on the ground floor of Bickerstaffe House remain unlet.
Coun Smith added: “There has been more interest in the units and we hope further development in this area will increase footfall and act as a catalyst for more investment.
“We are working very hard behind the scenes to speed the process along and get the next phase of the Talbot Gateway started.
“The Holiday Inn hotel will be a short walk away from the new conference centre which is now being built at the Winter Gardens.
“It is exciting to see the vision take shape, and people will see big changes in the town centre.”
The council has borrowed £17.5m to build the hotel on the site of Wilko’s, which in turn is set to move to new premises earmarked for Tower Street, alongside the Houndshill Centre.
Phase two of Talbot Gateway also includes a new tram terminal to serve the tramway which is being extended up Talbot Road to Blackpool North Station.