A PLANNING application has been lodged to transform the one-time C&A department store on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street into a hotel in a move hailed as a key element in the revival of the famous thoroughfare.

Glasgow-based Mosaic Architecture + Design has drawn up detailed plans for the 112-bedroom hotel on behalf of Manor Property Group, which plans to launch its first Qtel “budget boutique” brand at the Art Deco building.

Manor, which presides over a vast portfolio of retail, leisure, commercial and residential property, plans to invest a total of £12 million in the project, adding that it expects the hotel to bring 50 full-time equivalent jobs to the city. Its proposals would mark a new chapter for the landmark building, which dates back to 1929 and for decades was a major fixture on the once-bustling Sauchiehall Street retail scene.

However, it will not be the first time a hotel has occupied the site. A building which previously sat on the ground traded as Glasgow’s own Balmoral Hotel.

The building was last occupied by the Dunnes department store chain, which closed its store on the site in late 2017.

Stephen Mallon, director of Mosaic, said Qtel would be a “full-service” hotel. It will include a ground floor café, bar and restaurant intended to open all-day, which Manor hopes will help restore the building as a focal point for Sauchiehall Street.

The proposals also include a rooftop extension to house bedrooms, private gym, meeting rooms and back of house accommodation.

Assuming planning permission is granted, work is scheduled to begin on the project in the middle of next year, ahead of an opening in the third quarter of 2021.

Mr Mallon said: “It is an honour to be involved in this prestigious development for Manor Property Group, another major hotel project for the city following on from our Yotel project for Starwood on Argyle Street, which is currently on site.

“It is hoped that this development will add to the recent investment in this part of Sauchiehall Street, including the Willow Tea Rooms and the Sauchiehall Centre, to reinvigorate this part of the street, tying-in with the council’s Avenues initiative, currently under construction further along Sauchiehall Street.

“The design is one we feel is respectful of the existing building and context, using a traditional mansard form re-interpreted in a modern fashion with new materiality. While undertaking research into the existing property, we discovered that the now demolished building that sat on the site previously was Glasgow’s very own Balmoral Hotel; something of which I was unaware of before our involvement, but which seems to provide a neat symmetry for this project.”

A report issued by Glasgow City Council in May noted that there were 22 hotels in the planning pipeline for the city. Of that number, planning permission has been approved for 12, which between then will provide around 1,900 rooms.

That is on top of the 1,050 new hotel rooms which were added to the city across 2017 and 2018.

Mr Mallon said: “I think there is still demand for hotel rooms in the city. Investment in hotels is a barometer for how well a city is doing, so it is a good sign.

“I believe a lot of operators are taking a long-term view. There are a lot of consents in the pipeline, but operators are not concerned the market is over-provided yet.”

Mark Bailey, director of Yorkshire-based Manor Property Group, said: “The plans for our first Qtel branded hotel, on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, will see this Art Deco building, formerly Dunnes department store, given a new lease of life, deliver a 112-bedroom hotel, all day café bar and restaurant; and create 50 full time jobs.

“We have identified hotels as a key area for development and intend to expand our existing nine hotel portfolio by developing six more hotels of 100+ guestrooms, with the possibility of further expansion once this milepost has been reached.”

Mosaic has been working with Manor for around a year. It had been appointed by the original developer of the site, which subsequently dropped its involvement. Mr Mallon said his firm has significant experience of designing hotels for chains and operators.