North Star buys Swinson House, York, to convert into a hotel

A leading York property company has purchased a major building in York city center to redevelop the site into a new 132-bedroom hotel.

North Star has purchased the former government tax office, Swinson House, in Piccadilly from the Dominvs Group for an undisclosed sum.

Built in 1938, the 35,000 square foot building next to Spark York was previously occupied by HMRC but was vacated as it was outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

Swinson House in Piccadilly.

The Dominvs Group filed plans with York City Council in late 2019 for Swinson House at 23 Piccadilly, to demolish the existing building and build a four and six storey hotel.

The request was for 132 rooms, up from 146 in the original submission, as well as a restaurant and bar on the ground floor open to the public.

The council’s planning committee approved the development plans, with conditions, in August 2020.

York Press:

An impression of what the new hotel will look like. Images: planning documents

It was estimated at the time that the proposed hotel would create between 50 and 70 full-time and part-time jobs during construction and once in operation.

An operator should be announced soon.

The total gross development value (GDV) of the project – what it could be worth once all development work is complete – exceeds £25m.

The deal from North Star, one of the city’s leading development companies, follows other major acquisitions and projects in recent years, including numerous buildings in York, a large office block in Plymouth and a residential development site in Sheffield city centre.

In October 2021, the company announced that it had acquired the major retail building where The Entertainer is based in Coney Street to add to its growing investment portfolio in the city.

A long-term lease is in place with the national toy distribution brand.

Other company purchases include the TK Maxx store, Coney Street and the former New Look building in Parliament Street, as well as the former Kuda nightclub in Clifford Street and the former Mecca bingo hall in Fishergate, as a joint venture with York. Grantside.

Swinson House sits within York City Council’s Castle Gateway Masterplan, which will see the whole area rejuvenated with new public realm and high quality development bringing massive improvements to this key part of York.

A North Star spokesperson said: “This is a great opportunity to regenerate this strategic site in York city center with a high quality hotel development.

“We are in advanced discussions with a leading hotel operator which we will announce shortly.

“This purchase further underscores our commitment to investing in and improving downtown York, where we are proud to be headquartered.

Financing for the purchase was arranged by Ice Cubed Property Finance.

HMRC employed almost 200 people in York around 14 years ago, in two offices in St Saviourgate and Piccadilly.

Only around 30 people worked in the building when it closed. An HMRC spokesman said at the time York staff would move into an existing HMRC office in Leeds.

He said HMRC was “transforming to create a future-proof revenue authority, increasing tax revenue and improving customer service, by creating 13 new modern regional centers in locations where the majority of our staff are already based”.

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