Phase two of the ambitious £50m refurbishment scheme to transform the University Arms on Parker's Piece in Cambridge into a landmark hotel is on target to be complete by the end of 2017.
Planning permission was granted in 2013 to replace the "unattractive" 1960s and 1970s extensions with neo-classical buildings that blend with the local architecture. The works will add nearly 70 bedrooms to the hotel, increasing capacity from 119 bedrooms to 190. In addition, the interior will be remodelled to create a double-height entrance lobby, a destination restaurant, bar, gym and conference facilities.
Real estate investor Melford Capital bought the property from De Vere Group in 2012 for an undisclosed sum.
Its plans to tap into the strong demand for more hotel rooms in the city. Cambridge Hotel Futures Report, commissioned in 2012 by the city council, highlighted a severe undersupply of quality rooms. The dearth of new sites in the historic centre means most additional stock will have to come from refurbishing and expanding existing hotels.
The University Arms hotel will create 100 new jobs when it reopens.
The architect for the scheme is John Simpson, whose portfolio includes the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace and the entrance loggia and interiors at Kensington Palace. The principal contractor for the second phase is East Anglian firm RG Carter Projects.
A spokesman said that, as yet, no decisions have been taken about branding the hotel.
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