Time restarts for incredible Grade II* listed Municipal Buildings

The team handed over the keys to the new 179-bedroom The Municipal Hotel MGallery Collection in Liverpool prior to the official opening on May 10th.

The two-year project culminated in the bells of the iconic clock tower chiming for the first time since Liverpool City Council left its former offices in 2016.

Deirdre Billing, General Manager of the new Municipal Hotel in Liverpool, described entering the fully renovated building for the first time: “I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, my staff and I were quite emotional when we got the keys, we were blown away. The space is stunning and incredible. I can’t wait to start showing it off to the first guests and welcome them to the Municipal Hotel.

“Russell WBHO, Falconer Chester Hall, and the whole project team have been amazing and had such respect for the building throughout. Every little detail is perfect, right down to the tradition of restarting the clock.”

Russell WBHO was appointed to the project by hotel developer Fragrance Group. RBH Management will operate the building for global hotelier Accor under the high-end MGallery brand.

The Municipal Buildings opened in Dale Street in 1868 as the base for the then Liverpool Corporation. Internally it had been updated over time to accommodate changing Council requirements, including the creation of a ‘One Stop Shop’ on the ground floor. This sparse administrative space has now been transformed into the show-stopping Palm Court lounge and restaurant area and Seaforth Restaurant, which are accessed through a stunning double height reception.

The ground floor also houses the iconic Botanic tea room – set to become the city’s new destinations for afternoon tea – six state-of-the art boardrooms, and a function room for banqueting dinner and conferences. The former Council offices on the upper floors have made way for luxury bedrooms and suites.

Externally, the specialist team has cleaned and restored stonework – removing years of pollution from the façade using the conservation-friendly doff method – fixed and replaced windows and ironwork. Alongside renovation of the original building, the team has added a four-storey bronze clad spa to the rear, housing a swimming pool, gym and treatment rooms as well as some guest suites.

Gareth Russell, managing director of Russell WBHO, said: “This was a highly complex project with the change of use from municipal office to luxury hotel, and the addition of a modern extension to an iconic Grade II* listed building. The building was entrusted into our care and I am enormously proud of the work our team has done to transform it into this incredible space.

“We must acknowledge not only the skills of all the trades and subcontractors who have worked on the project, but also Liverpool City Council’s planning and heritage team with whom we have worked closely. We thank them all for their support along with Falconer Chester Hall and the interior design team, and of course the client who had a very clear vision of what this building could become. We hope the hotel’s future guests and the people of Liverpool will enjoy this beautiful building and be very proud of what we have all achieved.”

Alastair Shepherd, director of Falconer Chester Hall, added: “This is one of the most important buildings we’ve ever had the privilege to work on and we could not be prouder of the end result. We were trusted with this project by Fragrance, who are worthy custodians of this incredible building, and it has been a pleasure working with them. The respect of those restoring the building is clear in every detail and I know visitors to the hotel are going to absolutely love it.”

The professional team also includes structural engineers Curtins Consulting, Koncept ID and Grayland interior design, heritage architect Stephen Levrant, Jensen Hughes Fire consultants, acoustic consultants Auditive, and Walsh Integrated Building Services.

Story and images courtesy of Russell WBHO