The Corn Exchange is currently a popular destination for eating and drinking and soon you’ll be able to sleep there, too! That’s because plans have been revealed for an aparthotel to open inside this truly historic setting next year.
It won’t be the first time the building has been used as a hotel, as I discovered on an exclusive tour of the historic interior.
The recent strip out of the rooms has revealed what was a 40-bed hotel, Exchange Hotel, on the site – which is why it’s so well-suited to this latest development.
The tour took in the original Edwardian staircases, complete with original tiling, period fireplaces, and bird’s eye views of the Cathedral. Curved stone archways, spiral staircases and beautiful metalwork over the lift entrances add to the charm.
On a glorious summer’s day, the heat rose with every level we ascended, though we were assured that the rooms, which will vary from sleek 21sqm apartments to luxury palatial penthouses, will be kitted out with state of the art air conditioning, too.
“The Corn Exchange is a very complex building. There are seven different levels and 13 separate staircases. The challenge has been to make the best use of the space whilst preserving its unique character,” says Rhys Westacott of architects 5plus. “We discovered unexpected elements and nooks and crannies as the strip out went along.”
This is an aparthotel development which promises to be different from the typical corporate city accommodation. Special spaces include three large penthouse rooms, one of which will have access to the building’s distinctive turret. The turret will have exclusive spiral staircase access, whilst the original tiled lobby with grand staircase will provide guests with a historic yet personal welcome.
“Roomzzz Corn Exchange’s period features and beautiful bare brick walls will be merged with our New Generation concept, which features bold bespoke interior designs,” says Mark Walton of Roomzzz.
The aparthotel is the final building block of a £30 million project by owners Aviva and developer Queensberry Real Estate to restore this Grade II listed building. Although the structure as we know it dates back to the end of the 19th century, there has been a market on the site since medieval times, making it one of the oldest trading areas in the city.
Once a glorious community hub containing over 300 offices, shops and warehouses, The Corn Exchange has been used briefly by The Royal Exchange Theatre, served as an independent market, and became the Triangle Shopping Centre in 2001.
Combining the charm of the past with futuristic development has already proved popular in Phase 1 of the building’s development as a dining destination. The addition of an aparthotel will mean that residents will have 13 restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world to choose from – quite literally on their doorstep.
The development has certainly left me hungry to see how the transformation will take shape. Expect to see a lot of competition for the rooms with the Cathedral views!