2017 has been a truly exciting year for the Signature Living Group with us enjoying a whole host of landmark moments. From officially opening the iconic Exchange Hotel in Cardiff to beginning work on our Belfast developments and winning a plethora of awards, there is a lot the Signature Living team should be proud of.
Our growth over the past 12 months has been monumental and has really taken us to the next level. The future of Signature Living is hugely thrilling and I’m looking forward to what the next chapter holds for us.
Take a look back at some of my best moments from 2017 as we get ready for another busy year.
We Officially Opened The Exchange Hotel
We first started work on The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff last year and it’s been a long journey to get this historic building back to its former glory and open to the public.
We have managed to transform this crumbling wreck of a building into a beautiful hotel and wedding & events venue where the history is prevalent throughout.
In the first few months of trade, the hotel has already become a landmark destination and I am thrilled with its ongoing progress as we continue to restore the rest of the building.
We Announced Plans for the World’s first Football Quarter
The Shankly Hotel has been a huge success and earlier this year I was thrilled to announce our plans for The Dixie Dean Hotel which will be located in the Jerome & Carlisle Building opposite The Shankly Hotel on Victoria Street.
The creation of this hotel will form the world’s first Football Quarter where the two footballing legends; Dixie Dean and Bill Shankly will be commemorated with a unique statue with further plans to pedestrianised this area.
I am looking forward to moving on with the development in 2018 and opening the Football Quarter for fans all over the world.
The Launch of Signature Works
Signature Works is the co-working arm of the group providing grade A office space in key city centre locations in Liverpool.
With a focus on providing a collaborative environment for freelancers and small business, Signature Works gives members direct access to some of the best businesses in the city as well as networking events with myself and key members of the Signature Living team.
We have already welcomed many Signature Works members who have taken the opportunity to work with the group and myself.
Signature Living Takes Over the ground floor of the Cunard Building
The Cunard Building is one of Liverpool’s most iconic listed buildings and we were thrilled to officially take over the ground floor space.
Our plans for the Cunard include a selection of dining spaces including a fine-dining restaurant and bistro. We are also excited to open a dedicated event and wedding space within the building which will be truly remarkable. For the festive season we’ve created one of Liverpool’s best children’s experiences; Santa’s Christmas Party with real reindeer, Santa Claus and so much more.
Myself & Katie Were Honoured on Guardian’s Pride Power List
We have always supported diversity in the workplace and beyond, both myself and my wife Katie were honoured to be acknowledged as straight allies in the Guardian’s 2017 Pride Power List.
Some of our most senior members of staff are part of the LGBT community and we are both passionate about supporting the LGBT community in any way that we can.
Plans were Announced for Belfast
Belfast is a city which is on the rise and there is great potential with its tourism offering.
After a number of visits to some key landmark sites, I was thrilled to announce our plans to develop three hotels within the city of Belfast including The Lanyon Hotel which is a transformation of the Crumlin Road Courthouse, the George Best Hotel which will be located in the historic Scottish Mutual Building and the War Memorial Building on Waring Street which will become the Waring Hotel.
Work has begun on some of these developments already and we are aiming to have all three completed within 18 months.
Our New Party Rooms Opened
2017 has truly been the year of Signature Living’s party rooms with some of our boldest rooms being unveiled this year. From Flamingo to The Garden of Eden suite, we have built upon our iconic party brand and created rooms which are unforgettable.
These rooms have received national recognition and been hugely popular with some suites hosting private events and celebrity stays. Our plans for the Signature Living party brand continue to grow in 2018 and I’m looking forward to unveiling out new locations and suites in the new year.
Pre-tax Profits Highlighted Significant Growth
Signature Living’s growth has been undeniable and in May of 2017, our pre-tax profits were released highlighting our impressive growth.
Our pre-tax profits soared more than 250% on the 2015 figure of £1.6m with a turnover of £8.3m for the year ending March 2016. Our growth is expected to continue well into the future with the group’s profits for next year expected to be at £20m.
Awarded Private Developer of the Year
In April 2017, Signature Living won the award Private Developer of the year at the First Time Buyer Awards 2017.
Several of our developments were singled out for excellence during the awards however it was our residential development, Daniel House which took the top honour.
Since our inception, we have revolutionised the way hotels are designed, built and occupied, creating award-winning venues that become landmark destinations with the luxury Signature Living touch and it was great for Daniel House to be recognised amongst such strong nominees.
Signature Living Took Over Alma de Cuba
Alma de Cuba is one of Liverpool’s most recognised bars & restaurants and this year we welcomed Alma de Cuba into the Signature Living Group.
Keeping its original and highly-successful concept, Alma de Cuba underwent a slight make-over where we built upon its already solid reputation and introduced a new late-night concept in the form of Voodoo.
We have exciting plans for the Voodoo brand which including taking the concept across the rest of the country and potentially building a Alma de Cuba themed hotel in Liverpool.
Head Offices Move to the Bling Bling Building
Signature Living was born in Liverpool and as we expand into the rest of the UK and Europe, Liverpool will always be our home.
Signature Living HQ moved into the Bling Bling Building on Hanover Street earlier this year where all aspects of the business from accounts to sales are operating.
Working coherently as a team is hugely important and keeping all departments closely related helps to keep everything moving seamlessly.
Announcement of The George Best Hotel
George Best is one of football’s most iconic players and a treasured iconic around the world. We were thrilled to find the perfect location for the George Best Hotel, the former Scottish Mutual Building which sits opposite the Town Hall in Belfast.
The George Best Hotel will follow the same high-successful footprint of The Shankly Hotel with memorabilia, untold stories and luxury suites throughout with a dedicated wedding & events venue as well as a restaurant & bar.
Cunard Boxing Charity Event
Signature Fit Club opened its doors in 2016 as a boutique gym in the heart of Liverpool’s business district.
Signature Fight Club at the Cunard was a monumental event where amateur white-collar boxers would compete in the most famous building in the city.
With proceeds going to Liverpool’s leading homeless and hosing charity, The Whitechapel Centre, it was a great night which raised a lot of money and awareness as well as being great fun.
The Laurent Perrier Room Named Best in the North West
With each hotel we develop, we aim to create an experience like no other. We do this by individually designing each room, from Wonderland to the Garden of Eden, our suites never fail to impress guests.
Earlier this year, our suite, the Laurent Perrier pool room won Trivago’s Best Hotel Room in the North West. With its 40 ft mosaic pool, 12 luxury double beds sleeping 24 guests and a private bar, the Laurent Perrier pool room is one of our most popular.
Alma de Cuba wins Best Bar & the Liverpool Food & Drink Festival
In January 2017, we purchased one of Liverpool’s most recognised bars & restaurants, Alma de Cuba and we were keen to maintain the venues popularity and high-standards.
We were thrilled to both host the 2017 Liverpool Food & Drink Festival awards in Alma de Cuba and even more thrilled to win the award for Best Bar.
Hosted 136 Wonderful Weddings
We’re home to some of Liverpool’s most magnificent wedding venues and in 2017 we hosted 136 magical days in our 30 James Street Hotel within the White Star Grand Hall and at The Shankly Hotel at the Garden of Eden and Baby Eden.
As we head into the New Year, we have some incredible plans for even more wedding venues including Alma de Cuba and the Cunard. We are thrilled to be a part of many couple’s big day and our wedding coordinators work extremely hard to ensure each and every Signature wedding is utterly perfect.
Signature Living Sponsored Liverpool Pride
Here at Signature Living we’re dedicated to supporting the LGBT community and have close ties with Liverpool PRIDE, an annual event which takes place every summer to celebrate the cities LGBT community.
In 2017 we were a key sponsor of Liverpool PRIDE and hosted their first event in our magnificent venue the Garden of Eden located above The Shankly Hotel.
The Transformation of The Exchange Featured in a BBC Documentary
When we purchased the former Coal Exchange in Cardiff, we were faced with a lot of doubt. The development was the biggest we had ever undertaken and a task many other developers had shied away from.
We were honoured that the BBC wanted to document the transformation of this iconic Grade II* listed building and they filmed our journey to get the hotel open ready for the Champions League Final. We were faced with a lot of difficulty and hurdles as the documentary shows but we did it and you can watch the documentary ‘Saving the Coal Exchange’ here.
We Welcomed Ernst Van Zyl to the Signature Living Group
The Cunard Building is one of Liverpool’s most remarkable landmarks. Making up the trio of the Three Graces, the Cunard is a spectacular listed building in the heart of the cities UNESCO World Heritage site.
When we took over the ground floor of the Cunard, we knew we had to do something amazing with the space and a magnificent restaurant and wedding venue was the perfect fit.
Ernst Van Zyl joined us in October 2017 to head up our Cunard ventures where you can expect the epitome of fine dining by a leading chef within the most remarkable setting.
Awarded Role Model of the Year
The European Diversity Awards took place in November and I was honoured to win Role Model of Year.
The award aims to recognise those who have contributed to developing a culture that allows the most skilled and talented people to succeed, regardless of gender, race, physical abilities or sexual orientation.
As a company, we understand the importance of equality, inclusion and the impact it has, both within the company and the communities in which we operate. We’re proud to have supported many major diversity events with a number of our senior team and members of staff throughout the business being part of the LGBT community.
We Reached a Milestone of 750 Members of Staff
When we started Signature Living nearly 10 years ago it was just myself and Katie.
Gradually we welcomed more staff into the fold who helped with every aspect whether it be sales, guest relations or helping to clean the apartments. The team grew when we opened the Signature Living Hotel and the number of employees has grown to over 750.
As we source all assets in-house, we have dedicated teams in marketing, sales, construction and management who are located all around the UK where each development is located. I am looking forward to further growing the Signature Living team over the course of the next few months and years.
We Welcomed Over 250,000 Guests
2017 has been an incredibly busy year for us at Signature Living and I am thrilled to reveal we have welcomed a total of 259,297 guests.
From The Shankly Hotel to the newly opened Exchange Hotel in Cardiff and our new Signature Suites, our guests have come from all over the world to enjoy the Signature Living experience.
Our occupancy rates furthermore continue to be high with 30 James Street and The Shankly Hotel enjoying over 95% occupancy for the year and our Bold Street apartments furthermore experiencing 91.72% occupancy.
As we move into 2018 we’re looking forward to again welcoming hundreds of thousands of guests as we expand into the rest of the UK.
Attened MIPIM 2017
Myself and the Signature Living team joined a 36-strong city delegation to attend the MIPIM Festival.
As the worlds biggest property and investment expo, we headed out to Cannes to showcase Liverpool to the world.
We want to have Signature Living in all of the major UK cities and this expo was the perfect opportunity to meet with key council teams and really showcase what we have done in the city of Liverpool in the hope of replicating this elsewhere.
We Opened Kingsway House to the Homeless
Kingsway House is a former office site in Hatton Garden, Liverpool. The building lay empty for a number of months and before we start development to transform it into a luxury residential and office site, I wanted to put the building to good use.
Liverpool’s homeless epidemic is hitting crisis point with a record number of our people living on the streets. I am passionate about helping where I can and opened Kingsway House to those in need with warmth, shelter and safety during the bitterly cold winter we’re currently experiencing.
The shelter has been run entirely by volunteers and donations from Signature Living staff and the local people who have given their time and donations so selflessly.
Kingsway House will be open until February 2018 and I am amazed at the kindness of the Liverpool people.
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2017 has been an exciting year of change at Signature Living and we’ve taken on some of our most exciting developments yet.
I am hugely excited to kick start 2018 and continue to deliver an amazing guest experience, transform some of the UK’s most iconic listed buildings and take the Signature brand even further. We have received a lot of support over the past 12 months and the moments above signify how monumental this year has been for us.
Signature Living will only continue to grow and prosper, and I look forward to what the future has to hold.