Stow-Away is a joint venture between boutique investment and asset management firm Ciel Capital, and developer Stow Projects. BridgeStreet Global Hospitality has entered into a 20-year management agreement for the first Stow-Away Project which will feature 20 studios utilising prefabricated modular construction. GVA assisted Stow Project by undertaking a Feasibility Study and Business Plan to assess the viability of the project and recommend refinements to the brand and guest experience.
Due to the complex and unique nature of the site, the project has had to overcome a number of logistical hurdles which brought delays to the scheme. Owned by Network Rail and adjacent to Waterloo Station viaduct, the site had remained vacant due to unpredictable access requirements to the railway. By utilising 30ft shipping containers as the building system, the Stow-Away development meets the requirements of Network Rail’s asset protection agreement which requires the scheme to be able to be dismantled within 28 days if necessary for emergency access.
This has enabled the site to be utilised, whilst the building’s fabric enables the entire hotel to be relocated if need be. Further stipulations have included the provision of bullet-proof doors and precluded the creation of a roof terrace ‘due to anti-terrorism concerns’. The result, however, is a flexible product that is suitable for small or challenging development sites, which may otherwise have been overlooked by hotel developers.
Another challenge was ensuring the recycled shipping containers were sound-proofed, fully air-conditioned and offered a high quality finish. This challenge was met by Architects Doone Silver Kerr, who undertook the design brief of creating a luxury feel in the narrow, re-purposed containers. This was achieved through smart design and high quality materials to ensure space was maximised and comfort was not compromised. Each apartment will have a king-sized bed, kitchenette and contemporary shower room. On the ground floor there is a wine bar and restaurant “Unwined” operated by A Grape Night In. The restaurant works on a ‘pop-up’ basis with a new chef and concept launching every few weeks.
The first Stow-Away will be followed-up by a larger sibling (172 units) in Manchester which is the reconfiguration of an existing apart-hotel in Piccadilly Basin due to start on site in Q1 2019 (planning was granted last week) and 75 units in Birmingham, as part of a dual branded £40m development at the Methodist Central Hall. Further opportunities for the Stow-Away brand are being pursued in London, Glasgow and Dublin, with a portfolio of 10 assets planned over the next five years.