I have two loves in my life. My first love is my family, who have consistently supported me throughout my life, both personally and professionally. My second love has to be for developing old buildings and giving them a new life and identity.
All property purchases come with a gamble, but I believe passion and determination ultimately determines whether the gamble pays off or not.
The creation of my first hotel, Signature Living, came from two weekends I was forced to endure many years ago.
The first weekend, I stayed in a hotel in Newcastle that was far away from the city centre, whilst spending a night out queuing in the cold, only to head back to the hotel before midnight. The next weekend my wife, Katie, organised a birthday trip away in a hotel. I was, however, disappointed when I was handed the €85 euro bill for 5 fims, WiFi, a bar of chocolate and a bottle of water. I decided the hotel industry needed a change, and so my passion for creating a luxurious aparthotel in Liverpool took over. My goal was to provide unrivalled accommodation, fantastic service and no hidden extras.
I was so passionate about the project, I sold my retail business and bought the Victoria Street building, which is now known as Signature Living, in 2004. After 4 and a half years of planning and designing, and thanks to the love and support of my wife and family, we opened the doors to our first clients on 14th August, 2008. This was the beginning of the rest of our lives.
Now, I’m not saying opening a hotel is ever easy, it never is, and many guest’s walked through our doors within the first few months, but it was a huge struggle. Thankfully our passion and hard work, resulted in our occupancy level hitting in excess of 80% within our first year, which is a huge feat as we had no knowledge of the Hotel industry before our baptism of fire.
Thankfully as we opened more and more apartment blocks and hotels the skills that we had hastily acquired along the way helped us to create a new style of attaining our own enquiries, which has helped with how we have defined our companies DNA that now runs right through our company.
30 James Street
In 2013, following the successful of Signature Living, myself and Katie acquired Albion House, a Grade II* Listed building that was formerly the White Star Line’s headquarters, and was designed by Richard Norman Shaw and J. Francis Doyle in 1896. The building was the HQ for the shipping company that produced some of the biggest and best ships in the world at the time of their launch, and so it was also RMS Titanic’s port of registry.
We both fell in love with the history and architecture of the building, and wanted to create a hotel that commemorated not just the White Star Line and RMS Titanic, but celebrated the city of Liverpool’s extensive maritime history.
This was no easy task, not only did we have to try and convince many individual investors to trust in our newly formed company, but we also had to contend with a very structured planning policy due to its National heritage status of Grade 2 star, you then have to contend with Conservation and the Victorian Society, if you have ever heard of the terminology of spinning plates, then this was like spinning tables.
I can see why developers do not wish to step into this cauldron and then as if it can’t get any worse you have to shoe horn a modern hotel into a listed building and bring the project in on time and on budget and then pull out your last bit of energy and try and fill the hotel, because if you do not, you could lose it all.
Quite daunting wouldn’t you say.
In April 2014, we successfully launched 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic, a Titanic-themed hotel in Liverpool. Each room commemorates a passenger or crew member aboard the famous ship, or celebrates a connection to the White Star Line company. We also launched Liverpool’s first rooftop bar, the Carpathia Champagne Bar and Restaurant, as well as the amazing Morgan’s Vault and Spa, offering a variety of relaxing spa treatments and packages.
The Shankly Hotel
The Shankly Hotel We could not be more excited for its opening. Liverpool is such an amazing city with so much history to be proud of, and my goal is to ensure our heritage is never forgotten. Bill Shankly means a great deal not just to football fans, but to the city of Liverpool, and the legacy he left behind lives on. Please browse the website for the latest news on this amazing project.
I’m very proud of my achievements over the years, and the path here has most definitely been exciting and rewarding; it is certainly a path I hope to stay on for many years to come.