Michelin-starred chef Robert Thompson has been announced as the Isle of Wight Council's preferred bidder for the Ventnor Winter Gardens.
The chef proprietor of the nearby Hamborough hotel, which has a Michelin star and three AA rosettes, and the two AA rosette Pond Café in Bonchurch, will refurbish and upgrade the building to create two dining venues, an entertainment space capable of staging live acts and cinema screenings and conference and banqueting facilities under his multi-million pound plans.
Subject to planning permission, up to 20 hotel rooms could be created in two wings, sympathetic to the building's art deco design.
Thompson told Isle of Wight Radio that while the venture could create up to 40 new jobs on the island, there's still a long way to go.
"At this stage we're still going through the process," he said. "We've still got to negotiate with the council and then after that there will be planning issues and planning permission for the changes we want to make.
"All we can say is that we'd like to have it up and running and it could be as early as 2012."
By Janie Stamford
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