Promotional boards have been installed outside The Garrick building on Lord Street in Southport proclaiming ‘the UK’s only theatre spa hotel’.
Giant images along the ground floor show what the iconic art deco building, which originally opened in 1932, will look like when multi-million pound renovation work is complete.
The ambitious new development by Garrick Southport Ltd.would include a hotel with 137 rooms; 11 residential apartments including a 4th floor terrace and pool; a gym and spa; bar and restaurant; and the refurbishment of the existing event auditorium to create a new theatre space.
The images bear captions including ‘coming soon – the UK’s only spa theatre hotel’; ‘we are rehearsing a grand revival’; ‘the next act is elegance’; ‘a place like no other’; and ‘a historic icon set to be restored’.
A planning application for the scheme was lodged with Sefton Council in June 2023, with a final decision due to be made.
The former Mecca Bingo building has been vacant since March 2020.
The proposal involves the part conversion to provide residential, hotel, spa and retail units at ground floor, and the refurbishment of the existing auditorium as an event space.
It is part of a resurgence taking place along Lord Street, with exciting plans to continue redeveloping The Grand after £4 million already invested; more investment taking place at The Bold Hotel this month; a new climbing wall and gym due to open this year; plus a number of other schemes.
In the application for The Garrick, with plans drawn up by Footprint Design, said: “The reordering of areas of the building will have a negligible impact on the significance of the building itself, and allow for a sustainable new use of a key structure.
“The imaginative re-use will prevent deterioration and a void in the conservation area, and may encourage a greater critical mass of related activity.
“The Lord Street conservation area will benefit from the reuse of the building, in a part of the conservation area associated with civic and commercial uses, and which has a focal and destination function.
“The current redundancy of the building is part of a disturbing pattern of patchy occupation and disrepair of buildings within the area, and its re-purposing with an entertainment function for which it was designed, alongside complementary new uses, should contribute positively to the conservation area.
“The discontinuance, or limited use, are both a maintenance and a perception issue, impacting directly on the character and appearance of the conservation area, and a potential downward spiral of decline, which is evident elsewhere along Lord Street and Eastbank Street.
“The re-use will encourage other projects in the area, and provide improved animation and activity in this location.
“It is considered that the impact on the Lord Street conservation is likely to be majorly beneficial.”