Marine Buildings redevelopment into four star hotel 'on hold' until 2015

Penarth Times: DELAYED: It is hoped that work will begin on the redevelopment in 2015 (3515599) DELAYED: It is hoped that work will begin on the redevelopment in 2015 (3515599)

PLANS for a £7million restoration of the Marine Buildings on the Penarth side of the Cardiff Bay Barrage into a 55-bedroom boutique four-star hotel have been shelved until 2015 at the earliest.

Tanny Martinez, owner of the El Puerto and La Marina restaurants near the barrage, said that the death of his father Benigno Martinez at the age of 71 last year had caused the much-anticipated restoration work of the Grade II-listed building to be put “on hold”.

He added that difficulty in finding funding to ensure the northern and western facades retained their original design was proving to be another stumbling block and meant that starting work this year was “not a viable possibility”.

The family, who also own The Priory hotel and restaurant in Caerleon, were granted planning permission in April 2012 to transform the empty Grade II-listed building into a boutique four-star Marine Hotel with 55 bedrooms.

The French Renaissance-style building, which has suffered internal fire and water damage over the 30 years that it has been empty, would also feature a cafe and wine bar.

Restaurateur Tanny Martinez, 27, is currently running the family business and said that the plans for the restoration of the Marine Buildings were “on hold at the moment” and that they hoped to start work in 2015.

The plans also include the retention of the building's northern and western facades, reconstruction of the roof and chimneys to the original design, construction of side and rear extensions and creation of car parking and landscaped external areas.

Mr Martinez said that finding funding for the retention of the listed building's facades was also proving to be another stumbling block.

“To hold up the facades of the building with scaffolding and a new roof, you are looking at an extra £1 million,” he said.

“Maintaining the family businesses on my own I haven’t had time to look into funding.”

He added: “There is no rush for it.

“We will be looking towards the banks, the council and the Welsh Government for funding as the building will add major value to the area.

“A little bit of help from them would be excellent.

“It’s a listed building that needs to be restored.”

A spokeswoman from the Vale of Glamorgan Council said that it was “unfortunate” that the redevelopment had been delayed and said that although the council couldn’t help with funding, officers would be willing to meet with the owner “to establish whether the scheme can be brought forward”.

She said: “The sympathetic redevelopment and reuse of key historic buildings is an important aspect of the council’s work. It is clearly unfortunate that there is a delay in working on the scheme that has previously been approved by the council, particularly when there was a great deal of negotiation and discussion on the scheme in question.”

She added: “Whilst the planned scheme would have clear benefits in terms of improving the appearance of the building and the surrounding approaches to the barrage, the council does not have funds that it could commit to the scheme. That said, officers are always available to discuss options with the owner to establish whether the scheme can be brought forward.”

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