A developer is being sought to demolish the Wilko’s store in Blackpool in a move which would kickstart a long awaited regeneration project in the resort.
Blackpool Council and its development partner Muse are formally seeking tenders for a £17m contract to demolish and prepare the site on Talbot Road and build a new five-storey Holiday Inn hotel.
Work is be scheduled to take place between March next year and January 2022.
The contracts are being advertised on a procurement site for the North West used by local authorities.
Companies have until August 15 to submit their expressions of interest for the scheme which also includes widening the pedestrian underpass to North Station and building a temporary surface level car park with 127 spaces.
Plans were approved two years ago for the 144-bedroom hotel which will also connect to a new tram terminal for the tramway extension, bringing the total investment to around £31m.
Facilities at the four star Holiday Inn will include a restaurant, bar and conference accommodation along with shops at the ground floor level.
Wilko’s is due to relocate to an extension of the Houndshill Centre, although building work has yet to start.
Last month Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams called for a formal council audit of the tramway scheme along with other regeneration projects which have faced delays.
He said: “They have to demolish Wilkinson’s to finish the tram extension, which is turning out to be the most expensive 500 metres of tram track in the world.
“I think its an open secret that Wilkinson’s are now looking towards the Houndshill Centre either on the original site or an alternative location.
“The hotel offering in Blackpool is heavily populated and getting more and more competitive.
“Building another hotel at the wrong end of town in an already saturated market is just madness and a very risky investment.”
The first phase of Talbot Gateway saw the development of the Sainsbury’s supermarket, multi-storey car park and offices at Bickerstaffe House occupied by the council and Slater Gordon Motor Insurance.