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Millionaire's big vision for St Helens' Park Inn as £4m revamp gathers pace
9:32am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
AN Indian businessman has a bold vision to transform a dated hotel into a “prime venue” in St Helens town centre.
Saurabh Agarwal, owner of the Park Inn by Radisson, at Chalon Way, is pumping a further £3million into upgrading the 84-bedroom hotel.
So far this has funded a refit of the rooms and fitness centre, while there are plans to create the restaurant and give the ground floor a major facelift.
The hotel has struggled since the economic slump set in and went into administration before he snapped it up two years ago. Now the multi-millionaire, who made his fortunes in sugar cane markets of India and has so far invested £10m (including purchase) into St Helens’ Park Inn, has appointed experts to drive forward its transformation.
This will begin with a Bollywood-themed dinner dance this weekend, which is expected to draw 200 guests, including a number of wealthy Asian businessmen, based in Manchester.
Mr Agarwal, whose company is Balaji Hotels, has appointed Devang Gohil, formerly of the Marriott hotel chain, as marketing manager for the venue.
Key elements of the vision include attracting members of the Asian community to host weddings there and forging strong links with the St Helens business community.
Mr Gohil, 28, told the Star: “We are going through a phase of refurbishment. The rooms are new and very suitable for businesspeople or visitors coming to weddings and conferences.
“We’ve invested about £2.5million on that and a further £0.5million on the gym, which is now fantastically equipped and has been extended. We are also looking to create a new restaurant.
“We want to attract more weddings. For a town that may not be doing so great with its economy the prospect of maybe getting 80 weddings here a year would bring visitors who would spend in the town centre. We are targeting the Asian market too. Weddings can go on for four of five days, so you may have 50 or 60 people visiting here and they will go into town to spend their money.”
Mr Gohil, who plans further events – including a Holi festival of colours in the spring for about 400 people – is keen to work with local firms and organisations.
It represents the latest positive sign of investment in the Chalon Way area, which has recently witnessed the opening of the Range store and is expected to see the creation of new McDonalds and Nando’s restaurants this year.
There are also more encouraging noises about leisure and restaurant companies showing renewed interest for a long-awaited development at the former St Thomas’ Square site.