Work on a £10 million project to transform the former Woolmanhill Hospital in Aberdeen into a luxury hotel, serviced flats and more than 40 new homes may start later this year.
Property investor Charlie Ferrari said he was confident of getting revised plans for the development approved by the city council within the next couple of months.
Asbestos removal and demolition work could be under way before the end of 2019, paving the way for a major overhaul of the listed buildings to start next year, he said.
But the scale of the project means it is likely to be another three years before the hotel finally opens.
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Mr Ferrari, who acquired the site for an undisclosed sum from NHS Grampian through his investment company, CAF Properties, spoke to the Press and Journal as new details of his plans emerged.
“This is not going to happen very quickly and it has to be done perfectly, he said.
“I would anticipate the local hotel market slowly getting back to normal over the next few years. There are some really good opportunities coming to this part of Aberdeen.”
The site is next to the Denburn car park, behind His Majesty’s Theatre and Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Mr Ferrari’s plans would see the old hospital, which closed in 2017, make way for a new sister hotel to The Scotsman in Edinburgh.
Hospitality firm G1 Group has owned and run the imposing five-star hotel in the heart of Scotland’s capital since early 2017.
It now wants to expand the brand to Aberdeen, with a 52-bedroom hotel and 27 serviced apartments.
The Woolmanhill buildings comprise the Simpson, Stephen and Victoria pavilions, along with an outhouse, gatehouse and archive block.
Together, the facilities have 118, 213sq ft of floor space.
Mr Ferrari wants to transform the Simpson and Stephen pavilions into hotel guestrooms, serviced flats, a bar, restaurant, jazz club and “cinema club experience”.
There would also be function areas for weddings and other events, along with a revamped central courtyard and garden.
In addition, there are plans to turn an old brick-vaulted basement area into a late-night jazz bar.
CAF Properties already has full planning and listed building consent to transform the A-listed Simpson Pavilion building, designed by Archibald Simpson in 1833, into a hotel.
Subject to planning, the B-listed Stephen building will become 27 serviced apartments to be operated by G1 Group.
Two other buildings, both B-listed, would form 42 new flats for the residential market.
Mr Ferrari said: “This deal marks the culmination of four years hard work, with the possibly of another four to follow to ensure that we finish with a prime product in this new, up-and-coming area of the city.
“We are delighted to have landed the G1 Group as they will produce an outstanding development.”
Shepherd Chartered Surveyors secured the sale of the site on behalf of NHS Grampian.
James Morrison, associate, commercial Agency at Shepherds in Aberdeen, said Mr Ferrari’s plans were “a vote of confidence in the buoyancy of Aberdeen’s leisure sector and a significant step in the resurgence of the local economy” following the oil and gas downturn.