Hortons’ Estate, owners of the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row in Birmingham, have unveiled the £30m refurbishment plan to restore the building to its former glory. The Grand first opened more than 130 years ago and is one of the city’s most prominent buildings. Many famous faces have passed through its doors including most of the British prime ministers during its time, for instance Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.
The Grand has descended into increasing disrepair since its previous operators suffered from financial difficulties. Much of the facade is hidden under netting to protect pedestrians from falling masonry. The hotel was granted Grade II* listed status following plans to demolish part of the building in 2003 – the result of a campaign by the Victorian Society. Despite the hotel standing empty for nearly 10 years, shops and offices in the building have remained open.
The project is currently in the consultation process and, all being well, it is hoped that the hotel will be open for business in December 2013. The proposals see a reduction in the number of rooms from 230 to 152, eight new suites – two of which will have roof terraces, and a new bar and restaurant. Additionally, the facade will be restored, The Grovesnor Suite will be renovated, the ‘Grand’ staircase renewed and the entrance will be moved from Colmore Row to Church Street.
Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons’, points out that “of equal significance to the bedrooms and the facade, is the hotel’s role in the city….[It is important to produce] a place where the great and good Brummies can come together, and that can only be done by recreating a great hotel again.”