BOUTIQUE HOTEL chain Malmaison has confirmed that it is to open a fourth site in Scotland in a move that forms a key part of the £1 billion transformation of Dundee’s waterfront. The firm will begin work this spring converting the decaying Tay Hotel, a recognised landmark.
The listed Victorian structure is among the buildings that will be retained under an ambitious masterplan to re-connect Dundee city centre with the banks of the river.
Business leaders said the arrival of Malmaison, which already has a presence in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, would provide a catalyst for other hotels and businesses looking to set up in the city.
The project’s backers are planning a series of boulevards and squares lined with flats, cafes, restaurants and offices. A £45 million outpost of London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum will form the centrepiece of the regeneration scheme.
It was recently revealed that Dundee Waterfront – a joint project between Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise – had secured some £300m of investment, getting on for a third of its £1bn target.
Alan Mitchell, chief executive, Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, said Malmaison would help raise the profile of the project and would probably “encourage business into the area”.
“It’s great to have such a prestigious brand choosing to expand into the city,” he added.
Mike Galloway, the council’s director of city development, said an overhaul of Dundee railway station would encompass space for a “mid-range” hotel operator, while other groups had expressed interest in the waterfront location.
“Dundee Waterfront is attracting a growing amount of interest, enquiries and, crucially, hard investment from a wide variety of quarters,” he said.
“We are well advanced with our plans and investment to completely re-engineer and transform the city.”
The opening of Malmaison’s 13th hotel will provide about 150 jobs during the refurbishment phase and create 120 posts when the hotel is open for business in spring 2013. It is understood that the project is worth about £15m.
Malmaison was acquired in 2000 by Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) from Scots founder and hotel entrepreneur Ken McCulloch.
The push into Dundee is the first expansion move since the firm agreed a refinancing deal last year and since the recent appointment of Gary Davis as chief executive.
Davis said: “My objective is to oversee an expansion of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin business and expect that this new hotel will be the first of many for these fantastic brands.”
Malmaison is taking a 35-year lease on the site with an option to extend for a further 35 years.