The former George Henry Lee department store on Church Street in Liverpool’s city centre is set to become a 105-bedroom apart-hotel under a proposed £15 million scheme.

The landmark location, currently part of the Grosvenor Developments portfolio, is currently under contract for an undisclosed sum from Gethar Ventures. The bedrooms will be finished to a 4*-plus standard, with proposals for a restaurant on the top floor.

This will be the first project in the North West for Birmingham-based firm Gethar, which has investments in two other hotel projects in its home city. The sale is being handled by Mason Owen on behalf of Grosvenor Developments.

Anthony McCourt, director of Gethar Ventures, said: “This is an iconic and much-loved building within the city centre and is ideally suited to transformation into a quality apart-hotel proposition. It is a superb location just minutes from the major train links, so should appeal especially to business travellers on stays of more than a couple of days.

“Liverpool is such a vibrant, exciting City and was a key-destination city for our business to develop and set up stall here. The project should help create 80 construction and end-use jobs, so is great news for the city.

“20-odd years ago Liverpool really struggled in terms of hotels. Clearly the Adelphi was probably the most famous, but it was only one of about eight others. Whilst there has been a flurry of activity in the budget end of the sector, with a number of finished projects recently around the Convention Centre, the city still lacks rooms in the mid range and above.

“Liverpool is focusing on increasing its business conference trade, with operators saying they just can’t lay their hands on enough rooms. This is why this scheme has such promise.”