A New York-style skyscraper has been planned to replace the Grand Casino in Southport after renovation plans have been put forward by the Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group. The plan is to transform the Grade II listed building into a 48 storey skyscraper called the Tower of Hope, making it one of the tallest buildings in the north of the country.
The building will house 140 apartments, ranging from one-bedroom to three-bedrooms, 109 five-star hotel rooms, a restaurant, a wedding venue, and a car park for visitors. The project will also boast a health and wellbeing centre, a gym, a spa, and a green space for the surrounding community to use. The hotel group is keen to ensure that the community is behind their project, and has confirmed that all profits from the sale of the building’s apartments will go to charity.
The Grand Casino has been unoccupied since 2007 and has housed a variety of different businesses over the years. Starting out as a car showroom in 1923 before being converted into the Grand Cinema in 1938, it remained a luxury cinema for several decades before being converted once again to a bingo hall in 1966. Just before the turn of the millennium, it was closed again and re-opened as the Grand Casino. It’s no surprise that the casino lasted only a few short years before being closed down, as this was the same time that online gambling was taking off in a big way. For the first time, people could gamble from their own homes and not have to worry about getting their winnings home safely from the casino. Since then, hundreds of online casinos have sprung up, all with a large variety of different games on offer. There are trusted review sites that have compiled a comprehensive list of the best real-money slots available, with hundreds of slots to offer. The site also has a page for free slots if you miss playing but don’t want to gamble. Furthermore, they have all the information you need to get started, along with security information, customer service, bonus offers, and how to claim them. This transformation killed a great number of brick-and-mortar casinos, though it’s particularly sad to see a building as beautiful as the Grand Casino sit empty for so long.
The beauty of the original building was a big influence in the hotel group choosing it for its latest project. Andrew Mikhail, chairman of the leisure group, said of the project “Bringing fabulous buildings back to life is such a rewarding feeling, and a building as stunning as The Grand Casino deserves to be enjoyed by the people of Southport and beyond”. He also spoke of the need to “cherish the past and build the future”, which perfectly encapsulates the mixture of old and new he is aiming to achieve with this building. The collective has already invested millions of pounds into the surrounding area, with ownership in The Bold Hotel, Lord Street Hotel, Lord Street Sports Bar, and a variety of other businesses in Southport’s Northern Quarter.
This slew of recent investments represents an upturn in the fortunes for the Southport area, and can in part be attributed to the Town Regeneration Fund Schemes introduced by the government for struggling towns. Sefton Council is estimating nearly £400m of private investment could be on its way to the seaside town, with The Tower of Hope being a major part of that. The council also anticipates this will have a positive impact on the surrounding community. The tower will bring in a large tourist trade, giving a huge boost to small businesses around the area and the local economy as a whole. Not only that, personal and commercial property prices are expected to increase due to the increase in demand for the area.
Building work on the new tower has already begun, creating close to 100 new jobs in the area, with more anticipated upon the completion of the building. It is hoped that landmark investment such as this will draw in other private investors and create a bustling metropolitan area to rival that of its close neighbour, Manchester. This 48-storey behemoth isn’t likely to be a one-off, with the investment group already floating ideas for a sky bar to join this grand hotel.
The Tower of Hope isn’t an arbitrary name, chairman Andrew Mikhail has been quoted as saying “I hope that people will look up, see the Tower of Hope and realise, that anything is possible”. If the tower is able to live up to the grand expectations that Andrew has laid out for Sefton Council and the people of Stockport, it will surely achieve its aim.