Preston based entrepreneurs plough Â£6m into hotel project
Two Preston businessmen are behind a major new hotel which has thrown open its doors on the site once owned by newspapers the Wigan and Leigh Observers.
Preston businessman Stephen McManamon and his father Joe, 77, have ploughed Â£6m into the two-year project to convert the Martland Mill buildings in Wigan into a Holiday Inn Express.
The business will employ 40 staff as it enjoys a new lease of life.
But the connections with the newspaper industry will remain.
The editorial and advertising departments of the Observers and their sister paper the Wigan Post are still on the premises and the owner himself has a strong affinity with the place as it used to be.
Joe and Stephen helped to install the Observer printing presses and run them for the period when Martland Mill became its new base in the early 1980s.
Stephen, 54, said: “Things have come full circle. After all these years I’m back at Martland Mill again.
“My dad’s and my business is Printing Press Services but, after hearing that the building in Wigan was available, my dad had this idea of turning it into a hotel so we decided to diversify.
“We contacted all the major hotel chains and had expressions of interest from five. We picked Holiday Inn Express because they are a large brand which does not have a presence in or near the town centre and because they have an international reputation for a quality spec and service.
“There is a lack of quality accommodation in Wigan and it is good that this brand has the faith to open here.”
Mr McManamon said that business visitors would make up a good percentage of guests.
But there was also plenty of family accommodation among the 86 rooms for people attending local leisure attractions and enjoying sporting events.