Opening goal of Preston's stop-start Shankly Hotel

Preston's stop-start Shankly Hotel project is back at full throttle with a goal of opening this summer, according to owner Lawrence Kenwright.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:36 pm

The £15m luxury venue, which is almost three years behind schedule, is now said to be "progressing well," with a 7,000 sq ft roof extension completed and several guest rooms almost finished.

“I am so pleased with the progress of the renovation," said the boss of the Signature Living hospitality group which is transforming the city's 118-year-old former Post Office into a "unique" 65-room hotel with restaurant and wedding and events suite.

"Not only is this is a very challenging project, but also to complete the roof extension as we’ve done at this difficult and uncertain time is a reflection of our commitment to our plans and the city."

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Lawrence Kenwright outside the Shankly Hotel

Signature Living bought the Grade II Listed building from Preston City Council in 2016 and began work on the hotel project the following year.

But a series of delays in 2019, caused by the uncertainty around Brexit and additional issues relating to asbestos found within the building, were followed by a temporary cessation of work in 2020 because of the impact of the pandemic.

Activity resumed on site in June 2020 and now the building’s new roof extension has been completed with interior works continuing at pace.

“Despite the similarities in name and theme, the Shankly Hotel in Preston will have its own unique look and feel from that which we have created in Liverpool," said Mr Kenwright.

The newly-completed roof extension on the former Post Office building.

"Our Preston hotel, will have what I believe to be the most vibrant event space in the UK with Elysium which will enable as many as 160 guests come for an event or party and at the end of the night up to 22 can stay in the accommodation beneath the event floor.

“We will also have a 7,000 sq ft rooftop bar and restaurant which will give unencumbered views over the city.

"This hotel will stand apart from all others and will certainly give all of our guests a unique experience, especially with the Elysium room.

“We are very excited about this project which represents the next evolution of our brand and we believe that it will help to supercharge Preston’s night-time offer and aid its destination status.”

The £15m hotel is due to be completed by the summer.

The project is a collaboration between Bill Shankly’s family and Signature Living to highlight and commemorate the iconic footballer’s playing career at Deepdale.

Like its Liverpool sister hotel, it is hoped the Preston hotel will become known for its atmosphere and guest experience and unique multi-occupancy themed rooms and which sits far from standard hotel expectations.

They include the largest bedroom in Signature Living’s hotel portfolio, called Elysium, accommodating more than 20 people to sleep, and up to 160 to party over two floor levels.

Bill Shankly spent the bulk of his playing career with Preston North End before moving on to be the legendary manager of Liverpool.

Chris Carline, grandson of Bill Shankly, has curated the Shankly Hotel’s museum in Liverpool.

He said: “Preston was a natural fit; it is the next place that resonates greatly with Bill Shankly and the family. He played for Preston for 16 years and in that respect spent a large part of his life there.

"He loved the club and the people, and they loved him. There are so many tributes to him at Deepdale, like The Bill Shankly Kop.

"Preston is a great city with some amazing buildings and none more so than the future Shankly Hotel.”