Urban Splash, the design-led property developer, is seeking creative input this week following its purchase of the Midland Hotel, Morecombe’s abandoned Art Deco gem, now destined to be the focus of a wider seafront regeneration in the Lancashire town.
The Manchester-based firm is understood to be in discussions with two Liverpool-based architects about a restoration plan, which involves revamping the 70-year-old building and adding a new hotel and restaurant.
A company spokeswoman does not rule out approaches from other groups. ‘We’re at a very initial stage,’ she says.
Urban Splash’s involvement should galvanise a flagship project for Morecombe’s regeneration. An action plan has been approved by the local council to revamp the town centre and the brand image of the resort.
Branding and signage work at the Midland Hotel is likely to be handled in-house by Urban Splash graphic design manager Sarah Clarke. Eric Gill sculptures and interior reliefs at the building, as well as a seahorse mosaic created by 1930s textile designer Marion Dorn, provide rich source material.
Commissioned from architect Oliver Hill in 1932, the hotel is an example of British modernist architecture and is to be included in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Art Deco exhibition this year.
By 1998, however, after a succession of owners, it had fallen into disrepair and was later added to the 20th Century Society’s Buildings at Risk list. A £10m restoration plan by developer Kalber Leisure collapsed last summer.