INNOVATIVE plans for Fulham Town Hall will see foreign investors transform it into either a boutique hotel or upmarket shopping emporium.
Final plans for the historic Grade II listed Victorian building in Fulham Broadway, which was put up for sale by Hammersmith and Fulham Council in February, were unveiled on Tuesday.
The council received 12 bids for the building and, alongside commercial property experts Lambert Smith Hampton, revealed its two finalists at a public exhibition.
Singapore-based hotel group Mastelle hope to redevelop the building, which dates back to 1888, into a 50-bedroom hotel with restaurants and bars.
The company recently completed a similar award-winning restoration of Bethnal Green Town Hall and has vowed to keep the building’s historic architecture intact.
Loh Peng, the Singapore-based tycoon behind the bid, said: “I love the building and I think it’s an opportunity to put the town hall back into the centre of Fulham’s social and economic life.”
American-based retailer Dory Ventures hopes to turn the town hall into a ‘lifestyle emporium’ with retail arcade and public piazza with restaurants and cafés.
It will include a flagship Maclaren store, selling children’s and maternity products, and Albert Thurston men’s fashion shop.
Jerry Spano, of Dory Ventures, said: “It is an amazing building and we are very interested in the history of it. We are keen to keep that history alive.”
Campaigners want to see the heritage and history of the town hall survive any redevelopment and the Fulham Society has thrown its backing behind the hotel scheme.
Maya Donelan, society secretary, said: “It is a no-brainer for us because it gives the public access and that is what the society has always said is paramount.”
Costing taxpayers £1m a year to maintain, the town hall has only housed parking attendants, housing officers, cemeteries staff and registrars since staff were moved to Hammersmith Town Hall in 1965.
Councillor Nick Botterill, deputy leader, said: “We are pleased that both these schemes will see the building available for public use so that residents and visitors can enjoy the building in all its glory.
“We look forward to a solution that breathes new life into Fulham, improves the council’s finances, creates numerous jobs and launches a new era of prosperity for this famous building.”
The council is expected to make its final decision in the new year.