A NEW hotel in one of Blackburn’s oldest buildings may double in size.
The Kings’ Hotel on King Street in the town centre has 13 rooms and management are hoping to expand to 30 rooms and redevelop the iconic Cellar Bar.
The project is being spearheaded by young entrepreneur Waqas Ishtiaq of Property firm Nextoria who has taken a 15-year lease on the building.
He moved to Blackburn from London two years ago and says the town has undergone a major transformation in a short space of time.
Mr Ishtiaq said: “The potential this town has is amazing.
“We took over the building in October last year, have already spent £50,000 redeveloping it and want to put in another £150,000, expanding the hotel.
“We opened the hotel in February and then, unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic took hold and we really have not had a chance to get off the ground.
“Anyone who visits the building will see that it has some great space inside and at the back there is a wonderful courtyard area.”
The building has a blue plaque commemorating the birthplace of AN Hornby, who captained England at both cricket and rugby and was a Blackburn Rovers player.
During the lockdown Mr Ishtiaq says they hosted NHS workers who were working locally, adding: “It was the least we could do as a company.
“NHS workers would stay for two to three days as we were able to accommodate short stays. We will continue to offer them 50 per cent off bookings.”
The building, at number 41, has had a fire system upgrade, new flooring and CCTV systems put in place.
Next door, at number 39, it is hoped renovations will begin once plans are passed.
Mr Ishtiaq said: “The Cellar Bar was one of Blackburn’s most iconic venues and we want to help make it a popular spot again.
“The plans are to make it into a chic café and a games lounge.
“The top two floors are very spacious and we are hoping to expand the hotel and make this one of the largest budget hotels in town. Rooms presently start at only £35 a night.”
Mr Ishtiaq, age 26, said he got into the property business after helping to develop buildings in London.
He said: “I worked for other firms and made them a lot of money and when I moved here I thought it would be good to work for my own.
“Of course the lockdown slowed things down but things have picked up in July.”