The Grade II-listed Royal Clarence hotel in Exeter, which burned down in a devastating fire in 2016, is to be rebuilt as an apartment building with a ground floor restaurant.
Proposals to restore the 18th century building have been prepared by developer Akkeron Group on behalf of South West Lifestyle Brands, which acquired the site in August 2020 from Andrew Brownsword Hotels.
The £17m scheme will include reconstructing the original façade and exterior, and turning the upper four storeys into a collection of 23 apartments with a mix of two and three-bed apartments, including three duplex apartments over two floors. The ground floor would become a large restaurant and a bar to replace the Well House pub with two function rooms.
A community consultation will run until 22 December to inform the proposals before a full planning application and an application for listed building consent are submitted to Exeter City Council in early 2022.
James Brent, Akkeron chairman, said: "We are delighted to share our plans to breathe new life into the historic and much-loved Royal Clarence building in Exeter, which the city is eager to see restored after five years of it sitting derelict following the terrible fire in 2016.
"Our proposals envisage the Royal Clarence being carefully restored to become a focal point in the heart of Exeter's Cathedral Yard, with a publicly accessible ground floor offering high quality restaurant and bar space."
He added: "We are also focused on retaining as much of the building's historic fabric as possible, restoring the famous façade to its former glory, so the Royal Clarence will look much as it previously did before the fire, and form a pivotal point in the centre of Exeter, as an asset for the city to be proud of, and a legacy for future generations.
"Our proposals have been prepared with huge respect for this building, its location and the special place it holds in the city. I would thank Historic England and Exeter City Council for their guidance over many months."
The main building dating to 1769 and contained several structures dating to medieval times however much of the building was lost after a fire in the neighbouring premises on 28 October 2016 spread to the hotel, and a substantial amount of the remaining part was later demolished.
Brownsword Hotels obtained planning permission in 2017 to create a new 74-bedroom hotel, including an additional upper storey, but work did not progress and it was later sold. The consented replacement hotel development was found to be "significantly unviable", with a forecast loss of around £17m, further impacted by the recent introduction of a new hotel a few hundred yards away and reinforced by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hospitality sector.