A swish five-star hotel could be multi-millionaire Simon Rigby’s next contribution to the regeneration of Preston.
The ambitious new owner of the Guild Hall is planning to add a much-needed touch of class to the city’s changing urban landscape.
As work continues on giving the world famous entertainment centre a £1m facelift, Mr Rigby is already working on plans to bring top quality accommodation to an area which is also getting a revamped bus station and a new market hall.
“I’m looking at a fantastic hotel venue to go with this fantastic entertainment venue,” he told the Evening Post.
“We’re not exactly sure where it will be - we have three locations we are considering. Personally I have a front-runner in mind, but it wouldn’t be right to say where that is.”
The favourite is thought to be the “Grassy Knoll” site which is adjacent to the Guild Hall and formed part of Mr Rigby’s original vision when he first toyed with the idea of buying the complex.
The entrepreneur’s first artist’s impressions of the Guild Hall project included a hotel right next door, with a glass walkway linking the two buildings.
But when he made a bid for the tired events venue his planning application was solely for a stand-alone complex.
Developers are thought to favour that site because it is open land and more accessible for development. It is also adjacent to the venue which he hopes will one day be able to offer theatre or concert-goers the whole package of entertainment, a meal and a bed for the night - with a huge multi-storey car park also linked by a covered bridge.
“To make this a world class venue again we need a fantastic 120-bed four/five star hotel here which Preston is crying out for,” he explained.
“I am supremely confident the city council will do all they can to facilitate that. It would help to secure the future of the Guild Hall and I’m confident they will be working with us for a long time to come.”
While Mr Rigby is already underway planning his hotel venture, he admits it could be a year away “at least” before he has anything concrete to announce.
“In the meantime I expect lots of fun and speculation through the columns of the Evening Post about this. It’s an exciting prospect,” he said.