Long before his huge return to Manchester United was cemented on transfer deadline day, Cristiano Ronaldo was already preparing a lasting legacy in the city – with a new luxury hotel.
Plans for the first Pestana CR7 Hotel in the UK were approved for a huge Northern Quarter site looking out to Piccadilly Gardens in November.
The £27m hotel from Pestana CR7, a partnership between Ronaldo and Portuguese hotel group Pestana, bears Cristiano’s famous footballing initials and the shirt number that he will once again take when he returns to Manchester United.
READ MORE : The stunning Alderley Edge mansion Ronaldo lived in when he last played at Manchester United
The approved plans, submitted as a joint venture between Pestana and Eastern Green Limited, are for a vast new four-star hotel for the city, built on a prominent site at the corner of Newton Street and Piccadilly looking out across to Piccadilly Gardens.
As part of the plans a building on Newton Street – which has been hidden beneath scaffolding and hoardings for some 20 years – is set to be demolished.
It will be replaced by a towering new build, which, in the detailed plans by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, is in red brick, with arched windows to be in keeping with the surrounding architecture.
The hotel will also spread to the side to take over the vacant upper floors of the neighbouring Halls Building – the bottom floor houses The Piccadilly Tavern pub, which will stay as part of the development scheme.
When planning approval was won in November last year, there were hopes the hotel could be ready to open by ‘early 2023’.
It is set to be a huge undertaking, particularly given the prominent location at the heart of the city centre.
As well as 151 new hotel bedrooms for the city, the plans for the multi-storey building also include a ground floor bar and cafe, and a basement gym.
There are also plans for a roof terrace up on the 11th floor, while the area outside the hotel, a hectic main crossing point for traffic and pedestrians in the city, will be improved with ‘widened pavements and new trees’.
The MEN has approached Pestana Hotels for comment about the start of the project but as yet no response has been received.
In the plans approved by Manchester Council, Katie Wray, of planning consultants Deloitte, said: “The development will deliver a 151-bed four-star luxury hotel and will respond to the demand for additional hotel rooms within the city to support its long-term growth trajectory.
“The delivery of a new hotel supported by the CR7 brand is a testament to the site’s attractiveness and is an important opportunity to further diversify Manchester’s vibrant hospitality and tourism offer.”
A total of 228 full-time jobs will be created during construction and a further 187 full-time posts once the hotel opens.
Piccadilly councillor Jon-Connor Lyons hailed the development as an ‘incredibly exciting’ opportunity to breathe new life into the area, neighboured by developments at Back Piccadilly and Mangle Street.
He said at the time planning was granted: “It considers and celebrates our industrial heritage in the city, it doesn’t work against it but celebrates and restores it.
“The corner of [67 Piccadilly] has for so many years been a major concern because it is supported by that scaffolding and with further neglect it could have collapsed.”
Several councillors who raised concerns about the roof terrace plans were told that it would only be used for organised events, and that there would be no amplified music played outside.
Ronaldo himself is expected to arrive in the city any day now to resume his footballing career with Manchester United after his big move from Juventus was sealed at the end of August.
The 36-year-old star has been on international duty with Portugal this week, but was released early. His late yellow card, after his goal-scoring heroics in the 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland, means he cannot play in Portugal’s next game on Saturday evening.
It is hoped that will allow the footballer to arrive earlier than anticipated to Manchester – potentially in time to play in United’s next fixture after the international break, against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11.
While footballing matters are likely to be foremost in his mind right now, Ronaldo will no doubt be keen to keep an eye on how the hotel development unfolds here in the city.
And with a bit of luck, (having signed a minimum two year contract with United and option for a third), Ronaldo will still be based in the city when the hotel eventually opens up to the public.
What visitors can expect from Pestana CR7 Hotels
As to what visitors can expect from the Pestana CR7 brand, it currently boasts four ‘lifestyle’ hotels across the world – in Madeira, Madrid and Lisbon, with the most recent opening in New York.
Ronaldo shared a host of images from the New York launch in July on his Instagram page – that hotel has an enviable position on the city’s Times Square.
Guest bedrooms are decorated with artwork inspired by the football legend’s Portuguese homeland, and we can expect to see a similar sleek and modern interior style here at the Manchester venue.
Captioning the photos to his 337m followers on Instagram, he said: “What a magical date – 07.07 to introduce you to my new hotel @pestanacr7 Times Square, in New York!”
He urged followers to get booking to “discover the coolest new hotel, in the best location in town.”
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