FORMER Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash says he is delighted after his company was picked to transform a town centre site into a luxury hotel, spa and apartments.

Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet has approved the appointment of a preferred buyer to pave the way for the land and buildings at Garven Place to be brought back into use.

The move will see the authority sell the listed buildings – Bank House 88 and 86 Sankey Street – which have been empty for a number of years.

It can be revealed that MKMS Investments Limited, led by businessman Mr Koukash, is the firm which has been given ‘preferred developer status’ for the scheme.

He was behind the opening of the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Liverpool city centre, on Dale Street. It resulted in the transformation of a similar building into a luxury hotel.

Warrington Guardian:

The hotel in Liverpool. Picture: Hilton by Doubletree

And the popular figure, who lost out in a race against the Wire Flyer in April, has reacted to the decision.

In a tweet, Mr Koukash said: “Delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder to develop luxury hotel, spa, restaurants, bars and apartments in the centre of Warrington.

“Thank you for the opportunity.”

The proposed redevelopment – which will need to pass the planning process – also seeks to deliver a swimming pool.

During Monday’s cabinet meeting at the Town Hall, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said it has been a ‘long-standing ambition’ to regenerate the site.

He said the project will bring two ‘important buildings into good use’, while delivering a boost to the borough’s economy.

The Garven Place site comprises the former clinic site and adjoining public car park together with the listed buildings.

READ > Abandoned lorry blocks residential street

Bank House has been vacant since 2014 when it ceased to be used by Golden Gates Housing Trust as an office, while 86 Sankey Street is partly leased, however, it is proposed the buildings will be offered with vacant possession.

Land to the rear of Bank House is currently a council-operated public car park and a condition of the sale states that this provision is to remain ‘somewhere within’ the scheme.