Holiday Inn Blackpool - almost ready to open

New Holiday Inn Blackpool – Talbot Gateway Phase 2

The new Holiday Inn Blackpool is scheduled to open at Easter 2024. It’s part of the £350m Phase 2 Development of Talbot Gateway which includes the Tramway Extension. It continues the regeneration of the area around North Station and Talbot Road and includes a tramway connection to the promenade.

Plans for a new tram hub at Talbot Road
Plans for the new Holiday Inn Blackpool and tram hub at Talbot Road

Regeneration of Talbot Gateway

The transformation of the area around Blackpool North Station is known as Talbot Gateway. And it’s a large area of land which is being regenerated – so it’s being worked on in phases.

  • The first phase saw the construction of Sainsbury’s supermarket, the development of offices and Bickerstaffe Square. It now accommodates more than 1,000 public and private-sector employees including Blackpool Council. More about Phase One of Talbot Gateway and Bickerstaffe Square
  • The Holiday Inn and Tramway Terminus marks Phase Two of the Talbot Gateway project in Blackpool’s Central Business District. But this isn’t the end of the transformation around here!
  • Phase Three includes the restoration of The Hop pub and conversion into a dentists. Plus clearing land and building a new Department for Work and Pensions office block. More about Phase Three DWP offices
  • Even that isn’t the end – with the announcement in 2023 that the new Blackpool ‘Multiversity’ will be sited off Cookson Street as Phase Four. More about the Phase Four Multiversity complex

New Holiday Inn Blackpool

Almost complete, the new Holiday Inn hotel stands where Wilko supermarket once used to be, with 144 bedrooms as well as Marco’s New York Italian restaurant. It straddles over the new underpass to Blackpool North Station and wraps around the new tram stop at the lower level. You’ll be able to connect from tram to train really easily with a bright, modern entrance into the station. More about the tramway extension, here.

Talbot Gateway underpass visuals
Talbot Gateway underpass visual the Holiday Inn Blackpool is the building over the top

Here’s an artist’s impression looking from Bickerstaffe Square towards the sea along Talbot Road and the same corner as it used to look –

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Inside the New Holiday Inn Blackpool

Images released in late 2023 show the first completed rooms inside the hotel. The four storey, 144-room hotel will open alongside a Marco Pierre White New York Italian restaurant on the ground floor. It includes business conferencing facilities and a fitness centre for guests.

General Manager, Mark Winter, said: “This is a milestone development in an incredibly exciting project. Seeing the rooms take shape really helps bring the vision we have for this hotel to life. It will be key to our recruitment campaign as we seek to build a diverse and experienced hotel team.

It’s a brand new, modern and stylish hotel, centrally located in the town. Also within walking distance of the seafront and town centre. Inside is a Marco’s New York Italian, a Starbucks Coffee Shop, plus a bar and lounge. There’s also a 24-hour fitness suite and three well equipped meeting rooms.

Each of the 144 bedrooms has floor-to-ceiling windows, free fast-speed WiFi and bedside usb charging points, luxury Hypnos beds and a pillow menu. Plus a powerful shower, 55″ Samsung smart TV and air conditioning. Keep your drinks and snacks cold in the mini-fridge and your valuables safe in the laptop sized safe.

Take a look at their 2024 opening brochure here. The next video is the latest update, filmed in February 2024.

Developing the New Holiday Inn Blackpool

With the new Holiday Inn now built and almost ready to open, it seems like a lifetime since the ugly concrete Wilkinson’s occupied the site. These large regeneration projects take a long time to develop and realise. Demolition plans for the former Wilko were passed in 2017! Take a look through some of the steps to delivering this new development

Demolition of Wilko to begin, to enable the new tramway extension to be completed
Wilko before demolition. Just see the new Sainsbury’s at the far left. Photo taken from the traffic lights outside the chemists.

Closure and Demolition of Wilkinson’s

Wilkinson’s Supermarket and attached multi-storey car park closed at the end of March 2020. The next job for contractors was to demolish the store and car park, clearing the entire block. We went along to take some photos just before the doors closed for the final time –

Inside Blackpool Wilko before it closed in 2020
Inside Blackpool Wilko before it closed in 2020

The Wilkinson’s store had originally opened as a Fine Fare supermarket, opened by TVs ‘The Goodies’ on 22 May 1979. The stores origins were immortalised in these fiberglass panels set into the wall along Talbot Road. Here at Visit Fylde Coast we were lucky enough to rescue one of these pieces, which now has pride of place in our garden!

Later the store was Food Giant, then became Gateway, followed by Kwik Save which closed on 26 April 1999. But in March 2000 it became the UKs largest Wilkinson’s, with a car park for 460 cars. It was March 2014 when they were all rebranded to Wilko. Plans were passed to allow the demolition of the store in 2017 – so Phase 3 has been a long time in the making.

Fine Fare supermarket logo preserved in concrete panels at Wilko in Blackpool
Fine Fare supermarket logo preserved in fibreglass panels at Wilko in Blackpool

Blackpool Council and development partner, Muse Developments jointly appointed Robertson Construction Group to carry out the work. Muse entered into a Development Agreement for the whole of Talbot Gateway back in March 2009.

Preparation for demolition of the Wilko store and car park, which ceased trading at the end of March 2020, began on Monday 1 June 2020.

Down it comes!

The first proper knocking down of the external building began on Monday 14 September 2020. We couldn’t resist going along for a look, capturing history in the making in photos and video –

Day 1 demolition at Wilkinson's Blackpool, 14.9.20. Copyright: Visit Fylde Coast
Day 1 demolition at Wilkinson’s Blackpool, 14.9.20. Copyright: Visit Fylde Coast

Surprised at how quickly the building came down, we popped back on day three for another look.

And a couple of weeks later it’s disappearing rapidly!

Our friend Barrie C Woods took these photos of demolition, at dusk on 4 November 2020. It all seems a long time ago now!

Construction of Steel Framework at Talbot Gateway

Key members of the development team met on site on 30 June 2021 to mark the next step of the multi-million pound development at Talbot Gateway Phase Two. The first steelwork is now in place for the 4* Holiday Inn and Marco Pierre White restaurant.

Marking installation of the steel frame for the Holiday Inn
Marking installation of the steel frame for the Holiday Inn. l-r: Cllr Mark Smith, Antony Hill Blackpool Council, Dirk Pittaway Robertsons, Alan McBride Muse, Steve Ramsden Robertsons, Mike Horner Muse

We also went to take a look for you – here’s video from that point in the progress –

Here’s an aerial view of the site from the top of the Blackpool Tower. Thanks to Steven Hughes for sending this photo, taken in September 2021. You can see the Tramway Extension & Holiday Inn – Talbot Gateway Phase 2 taking shape –

Tower top view of the tramway extension by Steven Hughes
Tower top view of the tramway extension by Steven Hughes

By April 2022 (below) you can really tell what’s happening with the hotel structure in place and the tramway extended into the site.

Talbot Gateway Phase 2: Holiday Inn and Tramway Terminus. April 2022
Talbot Gateway Phase 2: Holiday Inn and Tramway Terminus. April 2022

Management Company & Marco Pierre White sign to Talbot Gateway

It’s official: In October 2020 hotel management company RBH and Marco Pierre White’s restaurant signed to the Talbot Gateway development.

Muse Developments is Blackpool Councils development partner on Blackpool’s flagship Talbot Gateway regeneration project. Hotel management company RBH, Holiday Inn and Black & White Hospitality (owner of Marco Pierre White’s restaurant chain) will operate the New Holiday Inn Blackpool Hotel. RBH is a leading independent hotel management company. Their existing portfolio of 45 branded and independent hotels across the UK already includes the Imperial Hotel. It will create up to 50 new full-time equivalent jobs in Blackpool.

New Holiday Inn at Talbot Gateway
New Holiday Inn at Talbot Gateway

Marco’s New York Italian

Inspired by his Italian heritage and love for New York, Marco’s New York Italian restaurant will reflect the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Plus Marco’s passion for classic, simple, authentic food. You can look forward to a mix of Italian-inspired dishes and American classics from a menu created personally by Marco himself.

Nick Taplin is Chairman and CEO of Black and White Hospitality. He added: “This New York Italian is perfect for Blackpool. It represents friendly, casual dining and will give locals and visitors a great new place to go out and eat. It’s not pretentious, it’s just good food, served in a great environment.”

New Retail Units Released

In July 2023, over 5,000sq ft of retail space was released as part of Blackpool Council’s £350m Talbot Gateway development. The five additional retail units are constructed underneath the hotel and available for lease.

Aerial View of the tramway extension and Holiday Inn, Phase 2 of the Talbot Gateway development. Photo: Blackpool Council
Aerial View of the tramway extension and Holiday Inn in July 2023, Phase 2 of the Talbot Gateway development. Photo: Blackpool Council

The units sit at the ground level of the 144-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel and surround the new tram terminal. The development includes a new underpass connecting passengers from Blackpool North train station with the new tramway extension which links to the town centre and Blackpool Promenade.

The Station View retail units are set to be available from Easter 2024. Units range from 400sq ft to 1,800sq ft in size, with mains water and electric, alongside telecoms and data access. The units have planning permission for Class E retail use with the high volume of passing traffic offering options for food to go and convenience retailers.

Talbot Gateway Phase 2 is Important to the Town

Local people have been at the centre of the project to ensure the wider community can benefit. Robertson Construction has worked with Blackpool and the Fylde college, to provide real opportunities to people throughout the project and beyond.

They’ve established a Sector Based Work Academy (SWAP) with Build Up Blackpool and Department of Work and Pensions. The aim is to support the local community throughout the project and to promote skilled training opportunities in Blackpool. Ten long term unemployed residents have undertaken five weeks of training leading to a CSCS card (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) over the coming months. Blackpool and Fylde College will also run virtual work experience for their T level students using the Robertson Tower City Project.

Creating New Life

Talbot Gateway is hugely important to the town. The Tramway Extension & Holiday Inn – Talbot Gateway Phase 2 will offer many things to the town. Brand new retail locations and an improved leisure offer to boost the night-time economy. There’ll be more choice of high-quality accommodation for leisure and business visitors alike.

While you’re here…

Go to the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for the latest updates.

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