THE construction of a new hotel and convenience store in the centre of Portsmouth will begin later this year.
Supermarket chain Tesco and Costa Coffee have put their names forward to take over the lease of two shops under the new Premier Inn hotel.
The development will be the latest addition to the city’s skyline, with an 83-bedroom hotel in Dugald Drummond Street being built on the site of the now-disused 1960s-built Midland House.
Workers are already on site, and the demolition of the existing building is expected to take place early during in the summer.
Once the new building is completed in mid-2015, Premier Inn will take a lease on the site for the hotel.
It is expected the hotel chain will move in and open during the 2015/16 financial year.
The new hotel will be in the upper floors of the development above, the planned Tesco Express and Costa Coffee.
John Bates, head of acquisitions for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants for the UK and Ireland, said: ‘We are delighted to be investing in Portsmouth and adding another new Premier Inn on the site of the former Midland House office building.
‘As well as regenerating the site of the 1960s office building with a brand new hotel, we’ll be bringing new jobs, investment and activity into the area.
‘We look forward to our development partners starting site preparation and clearance work shortly and to working towards opening as soon as possible.’
Robin Dickens, who has been working as a consulting agent for LaSalle Investment Management on behalf of Lambert Smith Hampton, described the current building is an ‘eyesore’.
‘I have been working with the site for 10 years,’ he said.
‘It’s a great opportunity to take a redundant building with no hope of going back to being offices to a £7m to £8 development.’
A spokeswoman for Tesco added: ‘As part of the new development, we would like to open a store offering a range of fresh groceries and convenience goods.
We believe this site would make a great express store and be popular with local customers.
‘We look forward to consulting with the community on our proposals as the developer moves forward with its plans.’