A TYNESIDE landmark is to be developed into a luxury hotel next year. International developers have won planning permission to turn the former Eagle Star House in Newcastle city centre into a £20m Hotel Indigo.
Work on transforming the building is due to start in January, allowing the grand opening of the new venue to take place by Christmas 2011.
The location, on Fenkle Street, was chosen as a way to be a part of Newcastle’s growing reputation as a cultural hotspot.
Hotel Indigo Group, part of the worldwide chain InterContinental Hotels, already own hotels in Shanghai, New York and Athens and mainly targets locations in some of the world’s greatest cities.
And the new 148-bed, four-star complex, next to the city’s Assembly Rooms, is expected to create 80 jobs for local workers.
The hotel is being developed by Sanguine Hospitality Management Company. The firm’s managing director Nick Taplin said: “We looked at six sites in Newcastle, and Eagle Star House blew us away. It’s an incredible space.
“The city is such a fantastic place to visit and we feel that we can create a top-class boutique hotel to rival any in the area.
“In other areas of the country you have to train staff to be as friendly as the people in Newcastle, but it’s all here for us. It’s a pleasure to be branching out to Tyneside. The area has so much going for it and we want to be a part of that.”
Hotel Indigo Newcastle will be the developer’s first venture into the North East and only the fourth investment in the UK.
Bosses are also hoping to secure a residency from a Michelin-starred chef to run an exclusive brasserie and are in talks with several “celebrities”.
Last year, Newcastle and Gateshead attracted almost 19 million visitors, maintaining hotel occupancy levels of 77% despite the recession.
The Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, which promotes Tyneside to tourists all over the world, has backed the project.
A spokesman said: “The fact that big brand hotels are attracted to Newcastle and Gateshead shows that we are a world-class destination with a quality accommodation portfolio attracting important inward investment.”
Tyneside already boasts the top names in the hotel world, including a Hilton in Gateshead and a Malmaison on Newcastle quayside.