The future of Huddersfield’s George Hotel could become clearer in the next three months.
The once-proud building in St George’s Square was bought almost five years ago by dentist and businessman Dr Altaf Hussain.
He had big plans to turn it into a boutique hotel with a rooftop sky bar and a spa in the basement.
But nothing happened and Dr Hussain put the building on the market for £3 million in December 2015.
Though he’s understood to have spent several hundreds of thousands of pounds on internal and external works the building is still empty.
Last Friday Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman and Bill Macbeth, managing director of the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield and a leading member of the Huddersfield Commission, which aims to improve the town’s profile, met with Dr Hussain.
After the meeting Mr Sheerman said he expected a “new partnership would be agreed to develop the hotel in the next three months.”
He added: “I understand Dr Hussain has spent quite a lot of money on the hotel and I am very positive and optimistic that he will conclude a deal over the next three months with some people he didn’t want to name for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
“The hotel is a key part of Huddersfield’s heritage and we want to see it as a vibrant part of the town’s future.”
Mr Sheerman was concerned when the George Hotel, the birthplace of Rugby League in 1895, was sold to Dr Hussain.
He had wanted a major national hotel chain to take it on with the resources to revive and develop it.
In July 2016 he told the Examiner: “I am deeply disappointed. At the time of its sale I was working on a crowd-funding project to develop it but it was snatched from under our eyes at the eleventh hour.
“We were told that a major investor was going to turn it into a four-star hotel but this has not happened and I do wonder what will happen to this beautiful historic building.”
The building has had no shortage of people interested in buying it at one time or another including Junior Rashid, owner of nearby Lala’s, the Indian restaurant, who told the Examiner he had offered Dr Hussain £1.5m for the property but had had his offer declined.
Bradford-based property developer Simmy Sekhon, who owns Britannia Buildings in St George’s Square , has also expressed an interest in the past.
Dr Hussain was approached for comment but did not respond.