Historic hotel goes under the hammer

Blackpool's Empress Hotel has sold for �180,000
Blackpool's Empress Hotel has sold for �180,000
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A historic Blackpool hotel is to go under the hammer.

The Empress Hotel, on Exchange Street, which boasts former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath among its former guests, will go up for sale at Savills London and National auction on February 17 with a guide price of £170,000.

It stopped trading in June last year and in November owners Richard Crawley and Lucky Anand secured planning permission to convert it into nine flats.

There is also permission in place for part of the ground floor to be used either as a shop, a restaurant or a drinking establishment.

Chris Coleman-Smith, head of Savills auctions, said: “This Blackpool landmark offers an exciting development opportunity in a classic British seaside town.

“The Empress Hotel hosted a number of famous faces in its heyday, but sadly shut its doors in June last year.

“Planning permission for conversion into residential accommodation combined with a retail unit can hopefully breathe new life into this historic building, that has stood in the town centre since 1847.”

Other famous former guests include American actress Mae West, Johnny ‘Tarzan’ Weissmuller and political broadcaster and commentator Sir Robin Day.

The Empress Hotel was built in 1847 and is included in the council’s local listings in recognition of its historic merit.

It is hoped any redevelopment retains the architectural features of the building.

A design statement which accompanied the planning application said the owners had been unable to make the venue a success as a pub “and so the place is now closed and waiting for a new life that we believe can be found through this proposed development.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, whose Claremont ward includes the Empress Hotel, said it had had an unsettled past in recent times, but that it was an important landmark in that part of the town.

The planning permission also allows changes, including a part single and part four storey rear extension.

When The Empress Hotel was built, it was almost on the seafront, providing a reminder of how the resort’s development has taken back land from the sea.

As well as the bar, it has a main lounge, games room, concert room and 14 bed and breakfast rooms.