Sunday, March 1, 2015

New plans for the Hilton Hotel on Rotherhithe Street

Thanks to K. Mark Parker from the I Live In SE16 website for the news that the Hilton is about to be refurbished and re-branded and that planning permission has been requested for some changes to some of the ancillary buildings. 

An article on The Caterer says that later this year it will be rebranded as a DoubleTree following its acquisition by private equity group HIG Capital:

The rebranding will take place in the spring, with the renovation of all the bedrooms and public areas, including 16 meeting rooms and the Terrace restaurant and Terrace lounge bar, being completed by the end of the year.  Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said: “The property’s recent sale and lease agreement’s conclusion has created a unique opportunity to redevelop and transition the hotel under our upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. 
The Hilton Hotel incorporates Columbia Wharf, one of the very fine 19th Century buildings on the Rotherhithe Thames frontage, the important Nelson Dock where numerous fine ships were built, and Bilbe's patent slip, as well as the engine house (which was supposed to be a museum but, as far as I know, has been closed for as long as I've lived here).

I was at the DoubleTree near Tower Bridge during the summer, and it was both smart and attractive, with a rather nice roof garden.  If that's any indication of the type of thing that we're looking at with the Hilton, it will probably be an improvement because the Hilton is now rather old and tired.  When I first moved into the area the hotel was the Scandic Crown, and then became the Holiday Inn before the Hilton group took it over.  The location is obviously somewhat challenging as a hotel site.

The planning application, 14/AP/3540, that accompanies the announcement, is on the Southwark Council website.  I can't bring up the accompanying documentation at present as there's an error on the site, and nor are the two submitted comments visible, but here's the main summary:

14/AP/3540 | Change of use from fitness centre (Class D2) and ancillary hotel staff accommodation to seven residential units (Class C3) including external alterations and additions to the terraced dwellings, provision of a fitness centre (Class D2) within the main hotel building (Class C1), together with associated wider public realm improvements including an extension of the River Thames walk (the Thames Path), refurbishment works to the Nelson Dock museum and the installation of touring bicycle provision. | HILTON DOCKLANDS/LIVING WELL HEALTH CLUB, 265 ROTHERHITHE STREET, LONDON, SE16 5HW

Many thanks to Michele from WORG for sending me the PDF of one of the documents that is no longer available on the Southwrk Council website due to an error at their end.  It was addressed to Rob Bristow at Southwark Council, by Scott Hudson from Savills and is dated 21st October 2014. It states very clearly that the Lavender Museum is being considered for conversion into a gym.  Here are the two paragraphs concerned:

Page 1: Further to our recent correspondence and pre-application meetings in connection with the above site, please find enclosed a detailed planning application submitted on behalf of CS Hotels for your consideration. The proposals comprise the conversion of the LivingWell Health Club to seven (7) residential townhouses, relocation of the existing fitness centre, the opening up of the River Thames Path Walk and significant public realm improvements. The application will also assist the Council in providing a new gym facility at the Pumphouse Museum, located close to the site at Lavender Road which is currently vacant.

Page 2: The applicant has also undertaken discussions with Senior Officers at the London Borough of Southwark in respect of assisting the Council through ‘reasonable endeavours’ and a financial contribution to assist in providing a new gym facility at the nearby Pumphouse Museum to help mitigate the loss of the existing gym facility on site.

If anyone has any more information, do get in touch.

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