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Union Terrace, Chester

Cost Management / Planning / Project & Development Management

Project Overview

Project Overview

Zerum provided planning, cost management and project management support for the partial demolition of the existing Mecca Bingo and erection of a hotel, along with the refurbishment of the existing building to accommodate new office floorspace.  The planning application was submitted on behalf of TAG Chester Limited and has a GDV of £15m.

The proposal seeks to retain the foyer element of the former Mecca Bingo hall which dates back to 1931 and was originally built as the Gaumont cinema before being converted to a bowling alley in the 1960s and then a bingo hall in 1970.

The former auditorium is to be demolished and replaced with a 142-bedroom hotel over seven storeys, with a restaurant and bar at ground floor. The proposals allow for parking spaces, a terrace facing the canal, along with other landscaping improvements.

The development would deliver a transformative development in the heart of the city, providing much-needed additional hotel accommodation to support the growth of Chester’s visitor economy.

The proposed site is located within the Chester City gateway, which has been identified by Cheshire West & Chester Council as a key part of the city’s transformation.  The Gateway is a key project for the Council which aims to create a “thriving hub for Chester, complete with new independent retailers and eateries alongside high quality offices at City Place and new homes”.

Hotel Chester will be located within The Gateway, just a 10-minute walk from the railway station. The  design proposals reflect the aspirations that Cheshire West & Chester Council has for The Gateway.

The footprint of the building will be reduced and stepped back from the Shropshire Union Canal – improving the public realm and offering the opportunity to open up the canal frontage.

The existing building dominates the local townscape and detracts from local conservation and character areas. Whilst the site has a strong frontage onto St Oswalds Way, the rear of the building has a weak frontage, offering a poor outlook onto the Shropshire Union Canal and a negative vista from Canal Side and Back Queen Street. The proposed demolition of the rear of the building, will create an opportunity to replace the dominant building  with an exciting new piece of architecture that reflects the city’s history, is sympathetic to its surroundings, and improves the canal side frontage and public realm along Union Terrace.

Other benefits of the proposal include:

  • Generation of c. 110 construction jobs, and c. 80 FTE permanent jobs during operation
  • Delivery of £2.3 million overnight expenditure from tourism per annum
  • Biodiversity net gain of 100%
  • Sustainable location encouraging use of public transport for visitors
  • Retention and refurbishment of part of the existing building to create office floorspace which will reduce the embodied carbon of the proposals
  • Delivery of a new build hotel to meet BREEAM Excellent standards


  • Client: TAG Chester Limited
  • Location: Mecca Bingo, Union Terrace, Chester
  • Sector: Commercial, Hotel & Office
  • Programme: 18 months build
  • Procurement: Negotiated
  • Services: Planning, Cost Management & Project Management

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