YMCA and London firm Verve eye up Gloucester's Fleece Hotel
TWO rival £10million plans to restore the 500-year-old Fleece Hotel have been unveiled.
The former hotel and bar off Westgate Street is being put on the market this month by Gloucester City Council in the hope of giving it a new lease of life after a 'decade of dereliction'.
Top London property developers Verve, which specialises in transforming historic buildings, has already expressed its interest in taking on the site.
With flagship developments such as Paintworks in Bristol already under the belt, bosses at Verve said they are best placed to do the job of restoring the Grade-I listed building.
But the charity YMCA has also waded into the bidding war with its own plans to turn it into a cheap hotel for tourists combined with a residential area, new shops and a space for creative workshops.
YMCA's Cheltenham and Gloucester chief executive David Wallace described their plans as 'shop, visit, create and live'.
More developers could join the race to take on the site while it is on the market for the next six months.
Nick Coupe, assets manager at Verve, said: "We are developers who like to return a building to its original structure as much as possible. We have just recently refurbished Acton Magistrates' Court and returned it to its beautiful facade whilst giving it a new lease of life.
"Whether it be restoring old offices, or industrial units or a historic hotel such as this one in Gloucester we are well placed to do the job."
But YMCA boss Mr Wallace said they have already found £8million to pay for their own project but have not ruled out working alongside another developer too.
He said: "We have been in talks about the Fleece Hotel since as early as 2009.
"We have come up with a concept to transform the whole site. It would be a great place where tourists could come to stay in the heart of Gloucester for the night. They will then in turn spend money in the city.
"Our creative and dynamic plan would bring the area to life again. If I could describe it in four words it would be to shop, visit, create and live."
Gloucester City Council have spent the past 18 months making the site safe ready for its sale. Richard Webb, asset manager for the council, said: "The council aim to dispose of it to a developer or occupier who has the financial ability to bring forward a scheme that revitalises the site, and in turn, benefits the wider regeneration of the city centre."