New hotel plans for empty block by railway station

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A NEW hotel is set to be built on the site of an ‘eyesore’ city centre building that has been empty for nearly a decade.

Plans have been submitted to demolish Midland House in Dugald Drummond Street – next to Portsmouth and Southsea railway station – and replace it with an 84-bed hotel.

The proposed development by LaSalle Investment Management has seen Premier Inn sign-up to a 25-year lease which is also expected to create 35 new jobs and two new shops on the ground floor.

Built in the 1970s, Midland House was vacated by HSBC in 2004 and has stood virtually empty since.

Council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson welcomed the plans and said: ‘It has been an old redundant building for a long time now.

‘It has looked terrible for years so it will be good to have it demolished and have something much nicer put there, not to mention it will bring new jobs to the city centre.’

Andrew Derry, development director at LaSalle, said: ‘It is excellent news for Portsmouth, and heralds a significant change in fortune for the city centre which should encourage redevelopment on other local sites. The local authority masterplan has identified this area as requiring special attention and, within the plan, this landmark site is earmarked for redevelopment to remove the unsightly and unsafe undercroft and to infill the ground floor to accommodate a variety of potential new uses including retail, cafe, restaurant and coffee bars.’

John Bates, head of acquisitions in UK and Ireland for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, which owns Premier Inn, added: ‘The new hotel in Portsmouth is in an ideal location with its proximity to the civic offices, university buildings and nearby shops and, subject to planning permission, we look forward to opening our doors to customers in 2014.’

Robin Dickens, director of the South Coast Agency team for Lambert Smith Hampton has been advising LaSalle, and said: ‘Midland House had become an eyesore within Portsmouth city centre and the Premier Inn is welcomed by the local authority to kick-start regeneration activity.

‘It will encourage redevelopment on other derelict sites.’