Green light for £35m landmark restoration plan

CGI of how Methodist Central Hall will look

Green light for £35m landmark restoration plan

Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee has given the green light to the £35m plans to restore and convert the Grade II listed Methodist Central Hall into a hotel complex.

At a meeting on the 1st of March, councillors voted unanimously to approve the plans, which were submitted by property developer Ciel Capital and architecture firm ICA.

Commenting on the plans, Birmingham City Council Leader, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “This exciting development will give the beautiful building a new lease of life.

“Big things are happening in Birmingham at the moment and the new Central Hall is a spectacular mixture of the old and the new.

“The project will also create jobs and training opportunities for the people of this city.”

Once completed, the proposals will see the iconic building restored and renovated to provide a 147-room hotel and 75-room apart-hotel units, plus new units on the ground floor for food, beverage and retail use, as well as a rooftop bar, live music venue, and meeting space.

The development, which has a target completion date of 2020, will also restore and open up public access to the Central Hall by creating a new ‘Gastro Hall’.

The Grade II* listed Edwardian red brick and terracotta building was designed by Birmingham architects Ewan Harper and James A. Harper.

In recent years the building has fallen into a state of disrepair, following several years of use as a nightclub, and currently lies empty.

It is listed on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register and is in need of substantial investment and restoration to secure a viable long-term future for the building.

Prior to Ciel’s acquisition of the building, it was subject to several planning applications made by previous owners, which proposed uses such as apartments and offices.

Under the plans approved by the Committee on the 1st of March, public access to the site’s iconic Hall will be opened up and the organ restored, affording a new opportunity to appreciate the building’s unique history and design features.

The hotel will be operated by Dream Hotel Group – an experienced hotel group which manages some of the most prestigious hotels and resorts worldwide.

Jason Wischhoff, vice president of development for Europe & Africa for Dream Hotel Group, said: “We are delighted that the plans for the former Methodist Central Hall have been approved.

“This step marks Dream Hotel Group's first entry into the European market, building off our success in the United States, South East Asia and across the globe.

“It's an exciting time in Birmingham, with preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games underway, and once complete, the new hotel will add another jewel to the City's crown.”

Vedrana Bilanovic Riley, chief executive of Ciel Capital, added: “We are delighted to have received planning permission for our plans for the former Methodist Central Hall.

“The project team has been working hard over the past few months to ensure that our plans deliver a sensitive restoration of the iconic building, and we look forward to getting started.”