Statement from Ann Chambers, founder and chief executive of iStay Liverpool:
‘After recently issuing a press statement about the new iStay development based in Castle Street, I feel it is vital to underpin some details about the proposal, and also to define our intentions as a business going forward.
iStay Liverpool, after a really busy and industrious trading period, has entered into the conversion of 17-21 Castle Street with a huge sense of respect for this iconic, Grade II listed building. With design input from the esteemed team at Cartwright Pickard, we have placed a huge importance on preserving the artichiterical heritage of this building, as well as its cultural significance: its beautiful original staircases, grand opening doors, and external facade elements are just a part of this site’s ongoing appeal.
With development due to start this summer, this site will also provide valuable employment opportunities at a time when incoming investment is vital for the local economy to try and retain some economic buoyancy as some difficult exogenous conditions will place it under strain. Once the development is ready to launch in 2023, again we will remain committed to providing employment on-site.
As iStay continues to expand, we are mindful that we wish to diversify, whilst staying true to our ethos: we are hugely proud that iStay was launched in Liverpool and has developed key iStay sites across the city centre.
17-21 Castle Street is the centrepiece of our newly diversified portfolio: iStay Boutique division. It is an apart-hotel made up of 33 smaller units for guests, as well as a lobby, lounge and dedicated meeting/working area in the lobby. Each apartment is designed to be a ‘home away from home’ with accommodation for 2 to 4 people: this is aimed at attracting family and small groups, visiting business people, and those wishing to take advantage of nearby premium shopping, leisure facilities, tourist attractions and events. As an apart-hotel, we wish to provide more flexible accommodation than that assigned by a traditional hotel, with provision of kitchen and living areas. This also includes value for money, as guests can eat ‘at home’ as well as visiting the city’s nearby vibrant restaurant and cafe culture.
After consulting with some local clientele who have additional needs, we decided it was key to provide an accessible apartment on the ground floor of the building. During this consultation, we were made aware that many people with disabilities feel locked out of staying in the city centre, and enjoying everything that it clearly has to offer. However, providing an accessible apartment, which our consultation group will be able to view and offer feedback on as we develop, is something at iStay we are keen to increase provision of as we continue to diversity in the future.
I feel I have been personally transparent about my aims when it comes to this development: it is about moving the iStay brand forward and 17-21 Castle Street is a key investment. Its beauty, history and unique design lend itself to a premium and discreet conversion.
It is my role to reassure anyone with concerns about this much-loved and historic site that I will ensure that it will become a boutique apart-hotel aimed at small groups and families as well as corporate visitors in this exclusive city centre conservation zone. It is also being designed to take into account the needs of clients who require improved accessibility, and we know from our ongoing conversations in consultation that starting with an accessible apartment will make a huge difference.
I am happy to discuss the finer details of the development at 17-21 Castle Street, and also to consider and be mindful of feedback around its construction and future trading possibilities.’