A planning application has been submitted for a major mixed-use development that will help transform part of Leicester city centre.
Plans submitted by architects Stephen George and Partners concern the old Grand Central Station and Stibbe factory site. It will see a massive refurbishment of the old station site, along with the construction of new hotels and offices.
Among these will be a 100-bed Adagio 'aparthotel’ and 152-bed Novotel, while the office block will have 43,000 sq ft of space. There will be a new facade and glass canopy on the station frontage, with a public open space at the front and a pedestrianised walkway, which will cut across Vaughan Way and link the development with the rest of the city centre.
Speaking about the proposals, John Morfey, of Stephen George and Partners, noted that the centre of Leicester has undergone substantial redevelopment in recent years, with the cultural, business and waterside quarters all being regenerated.
In this context, he added: "The station and Stibbe sites represent an important part of the jigsaw.
"Having lain neglected for so long, the Masterplan which we have designed with the landowner - Charles Street Buildings - breathes new life into the area with new buildings and a public space which will add to Leicester's developing sequence of squares."
The development comes at a time when making Leicester a more attractive place to live, visit and do business has been given a higher priority, due to the raised focus on the city in the last few years. This has been a largely serendipitous development, based on unexpected developments like the discovery of the body of Richard III under a car park - his remains are now interred in Leicester Cathedral - and Leicester City Football Club's Premier League triumph.
New figures for 2016 showed a million more tourist visits to Leicestershire than in 2015, something that, if it becomes a longer-term trend, will make the construction of more hotels a viable investment in the area.
Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby told the Business Desk: "The data from 2016 reflects the ongoing appeal of attractions such as the National Space Centre and the King Richard III Visitor Centre, but our visitor numbers were also boosted by Leicester City's phenomenal year."