Express & Star

Long time coming but Wolves hotel would be big boost for city

It’s a plan that dates back a decade that would see the area around Molineux undergo a multi-million pound transformation.

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Wolves and Wolverhampton Council are understood to be in talks over redeveloping land to the north of the city centre, with a major hotel central to a scheme that would also include shops and restaurants.

The proposals, which have been revealed today by the Express & Star, are said to be in their early stages, with financing yet to be formally discussed.

It is believed the scheme would complement Wolves’ bold masterplan to expand Molineux into a 46,000-seater venue.

The site used to house Carillion’s Peal House, now demolished

It would also match Wolverhampton Council’s desire to revamp the wider city centre area, which includes the new railway station, the extended Metro line, new pedestrianised areas, as well as the £50 million Westside development around Market Square.

Wolves are said to have already been in discussions with a top level hotel chain over land currently used as a club car park on Whitmore Hill.

And it is not the first time that such a plan has been mooted for the site, which used to serve as former construction giant Carillion’s headquarters, housing 350 workers.

From Carillion to car park

Carillion staff moved out of the nine-storey Peal House building, on the corner of Waterloo Road, and into the former Staffordshire Building Society base on Ring Road St Mark’s in May 2008.

It was subsequently bought by then Wolves owner Steve Morgan, who bulldozed the landmark building and turned the land into what he described at the time as a “temporary” car park.

The Redrow boss had bold plans for the plot. Explaining his decision to buy, Mr Morgan told the E&S at the time: “In the medium to long term, we are keeping our options open.

“It was an opportunity. It was available, it was on the market and it was within our ‘island’, so it was a case of buying it now and seeing what to do with it later.”

The proposed hotel will be built on land currently used as a car park

Weeks earlier he had unveiled plans for a £40m revamp of Molineux that would see its capacity increased to 50,000.

There was intense speculation that the land on Whitmore Hill could one day be transformed into a leisure development including a hotel.

But Mr Morgan never confirmed any long term plans for the site, and the scheme would fall by the wayside as Wolves endured a miserable season, plummeting down into the third tier.

Now, with Fosun at the helm and the club on a sound footing both on and off the pitch, hopes are high that the project can finally become a reality.

The location seems ideal, standing just yards from the old Grade II* listed Molineux Hotel, which closed in 1979 and now houses the city’s archives. The site is yards from Molineux, walking distance from the city centre and adjacent to the ring road.

Any development would require planning permission, but it is believed the city council is ready to give strong backing to a project that is seen as a ‘win-win’ for both parties.

Council bosses have spoken for years about the need for a high quality hotel, with city centre options limited to three-star options such as the Premier Inn by the railway station, the Novotel and the Britannia, and the two-star Redwings Lodge on Waterloo Road.

With no hotel chain coming forward for the first stage of Westside, Wolves may well have come to the rescue.