Former Rapid Hardware building earmarked for hotel

Office buildings previously home to a famous Liverpool hardware brand have been earmarked to become a new 24-bed hotel.

Plans have been drawn up by the Wellington Building Company to transform the former home of Rapid Hardware base on Renshaw Street into a new hotel.

The building is currently occupied by Vanquish Law, but according to documents made available by Liverpool Council’s planning department, the law firm is to relocate from the two-storey site to a new location in the city.

An application cover letter said owing to the building’s current state of vacancy, its “efficient and swift reuse is a priority.” The application for the 24-bed set up would cover the entirety of the building’s basement, ground and first floors.

It is proposed that nine bedrooms would be situated at basement level along with a laundry room, with a further six on the ground floor. The hotel’s reception, accessible room and bin storage are also earmarked for the same level.

The remaining eight bedrooms would be accessed from the first floor. The Wellington Building Company is seeking to make minor external amendments, including opening up historic windows to the rear and replacing existing windows to match existing provisions.

It is thought, should the council sign off on plans, the hotel would employ up to six members of staff but staffed 24 hours a day.

The application letter said: “The target market of the hotel is for business and tourism purposes, providing affordable, but good quality accommodation for what is anticipated to be short stop-overs in Liverpool.

“The operators will take reasonable steps and use their best endeavours to ensure that rooms are occupied by large groups or used for parties.”

Rapid Hardware was founded in 1971 and grew to an £18m business in Renshaw Street. It moved to the old George Henry Lee building in 2009.

As a family-run department store, Rapid became famous for its DIY, garden, and home improvement products. After the business left its Renshaw Street home, the combined units were split up into individual lots.

The business fell into administration in February 2013 after failing to agree a deal with its bank, Royal Bank of Scotland.  The company reopened three months later in the same building under a different name, Rapid Discount Outlet, with many of its former staff.

The department store expanded its product range in the new discount store but the company made losses in all three years of trading and closed in 2017. A heritage statement accompanying the application said plans put forward to convert the building “merit approval without delay.”

A date for the proposals to be considered by Liverpool Council’s planning committee has yet to be confirmed.

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