A Chinese businessman looks set to be allowed to transform a 1970s West Midlands’ office block into a hotel and base for Far East tourists.
Dr Mingliang Chen bought Sentinel House in Peel Street, Eccles, a year ago for £2.8m. The owner of Milton Keynes-based travel agency, Omega Travel, claims the 15-storey building is located exactly halfway between London and Scotland and is the ideal starting point for round Britain tours.
According to a planning statement the company operates 55 coaches which it uses to take Chinese tourists around attractions in London and Scotland. The proposed hotel is “an ideal primary base for tourists to travel either north or south, after flying in to Manchester Airport. They would use the hotel as their arrival and departure point for their expeditions”.
Salford City Council planners are being recommended to approve the application which would see around half the 116,000sq ft L-shaped office block converted into a 126-bed hotel, including a new entrance foyer and bar and a second floor restaurant.
One half of the Greater Manchester building — Block A — is leased to office tenants from the ground to the eighth floor. All its remaining floors are in the process of being let with suites available from 114sq ft to 4,000sq ft.
Block B, the part Dr Chen wants to use as a hotel catering for a maximum of 218 guests, has remained empty since 2006 when Salford University who used it as a facility for training nurses, departed.
According to the planning documents, lodged for Omega Travel by local agent Howard and Seddon Partnership, the scheme could create 100 jobs.
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