A derelict building and former hostel on Brighton seafront could be transformed into a boutique luxury hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant, under plans submitted to the city council by two local businessmen.
James Randall and Lucky Gohler want to refurbish the empty Hostel Point building on the corner of Grand Junction Road and Pool Valley and turn it into a 40-bedroom hotel called The Louche, to help attract more high-spend visitors to Brighton, grow the city’s tourism economy and support the regeneration of Brighton seafront.
Built in 1830, 10 – 12 Grand Junction Road originally comprised of three separate houses, which were combined and run as a private hotel by 1861. An additional floor was added to number 11 by 1897, and from 1911 the building was known as the Palace Pier Hotel until the mid-1980s, when it was re-fitted and re-named the Princes Hotel. In 2015 it reopened as Hostel Point, offering cheap accommodation to backpackers, but has since closed and fallen into disrepair.
The new owners, James and Lucky, aim to restore the derelict building to its former glory as a seafront hotel with stunning views of Brighton’s Palace Pier and the beach. As part of the renovation, they plan to add a rooftop extension for a terrace bar and restaurant, which would be open to the public. The proposed fifth floor extension would be set back from the building’s façade, with seating areas for visitors along the front and sides of the building, providing panoramic sea views.
James said: “Our vision for The Louche is to bring this beautiful seafront building back into use and restore its former purpose as a hotel, attracting more high-spend visitors to the city and providing a boost for local businesses, as well as creating new jobs.
“This corner of Brighton is ripe for respectful redevelopment, as part of a broader regeneration of the seafront. It needs major investment as the site at 10-12 Grand Junction Road has been neglected. If a successful outcome cannot be reached there is a danger that this site will remain derelict for at least another decade and negatively impact the building next door – Pier Nine Casino.
“Lucky and I both grew up near Brighton in Lancing, so we know the city well and we want to create something here we can be proud of.”
Lucky said: “Currently there are hardly any rooftop bars and surprisingly, no Michelin-star restaurants in Brighton yet.
“Our city attracts millions of visitors every year, yet we know there’s a shortage of accommodation and an appetite for more high-end options.
“The Louche would help fill this gap, as well as providing a vibrant new venue for local people to enjoy and local jobs.”
Visitors make more than 11 million trips to Brighton and Hove every year, spending nearly £886 million in the city. There is a recognised need to attract more overnight visitors, as evidence shows that longer-staying visitors spend more and are more likely to build a relationship with the city.
Plans for The Louche have been drawn up by award-winning London architects Dexter Moren Associates; specialists in designing hotels and hospitality venues.
Darren Johnson, conference and business development manager at VisitBrighton, has already voiced support for breathing new life into 10-12 Grand Junction Road: “The Tourism & Leisure Department would be supportive of any works that would bring the building back into use and to renovate the exteriors in an area which acts as a city gateway to our business and leisure visitors.”
The application is currently live on the council planning portal. Click here to view it and have your say here.