A STATE-OF-THE-ART hotel with 62 bedrooms is set to open in the heart of Southend.
Architects have drawn up plans to build a modern five-storey hotel on land behind Baryta House, in Victoria Avenue, which is currently being used as a car park.
It comes as the popular Roslin Beach Hotel, on Thorpe Esplanade, Thorpe Bay, unveiled proposals to expand into a house next door.
In a design statement, Benfleet-based Refine and Resolve Architects said the town centre hotel, which will have its own restaurant, will cater for tourists and business visitors.
Ann Holland, councillor responsible for tourism and the economy, welcomed growth in the hotel sector in the town.
She said: “It is very encouraging and will help bring the area to life. The tower block properties seem to be selling well and we do need hotels.
“My aim was to have a conference centre in Southend so the more hotels we have the better. We also want to encourage people to stay longer and to come from further afield.
Many of the former office blocks in Victoria Avenue, including Baryta House, are currently being converted into homes.
Flats in the former Heath and Carby House, as well as Victoria House, have been selling rapidly.
The new hotel and its restaurant will compliment ground-floor bars and restaurants planned for other blocks along the stretch – a main route into Southend town centre which has been dubbed the borough’s “Mayfair.”
The building, with large windows and an eye-catching stair tower, will “set an architectural precedent within the area through the installation of a contemporary building.”
A spokesman for Refine and Resolve Architects said: “Our brief is to create a well resolved complimentary piece of architecture that is well designed and incorporates sustainability and 21st century trends which in turn will deliver a pleasant environment for visitors, tourists and the local community.”
There will be no customer parking provided, but an upper ground floor car park will provide staff parking and disabled bays.
The area will be landscaped with block paving and bushes to give a “green edge” to the hotel.
Welcoming plans for another seven rooms at the Roslin Beach Hotel, Mrs Holland added:“The Roslin has been a real good news story for Southend to have a four star hotel.
“It really is our flagship hotel and it will be interesting to see what comes of this.
“The do seem to always be looking at improving things in any way they can.”
Both applications will be decided by Southend Council early next year.