Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has unveiled a blueprint for a major £75 million regeneration scheme at the heart of Stafford which will see one of the county town's iconic buildings - the former St George's Hospital - restored to its former glory.
An initial master plan being submitted to Stafford Borough Council includes proposals to refurbish the Grade II listed building to incorporate either a 180-room four star hotel, up to 100 private apartments or modern offices.
Original proposals to develop the St George's site as a national centre for the culinary arts - the Great British Kitchen - were withdrawn in July last year because the project was not financially sustainable.
The new scheme is the centrepiece of a winning bid by Staffordshire developer Fred Pritchard, whose company Chaseregen, sister company of Pritchard Holdings, has been selected by AWM and the council to transform the 27-acre site adjacent to the town centre.
Other elements include a new business centre, conference suite facilities and managed office space; a high calibre development of modern town houses and apartments; a residential retirement village to include serviced apartments and a retirement, rest and care home; and a children's nursery and creche.
Over the next three years the scheme - named St George's Park - is expected to generate £75 million of investment and create around 1,000 jobs.
John Edwards, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: "This is good news for the people of Stafford who can now look forward to seeing regeneration in action at one of the most prestigious developments in the region.
"One of the agency's key roles is to work with partners and ensure that counties have a thriving county town at their core and these exciting proposals will be a significant boost to the local economy, bringing new jobs and investment.
"By offering opportunities to work, rest and play in an attractive environment for a complete crosssection of ages, St George's Park is a first class and sustainable development that will make Stafford an even better place to invest, work, visit and live."
St George's Park is one of the projects being showcased on the Advantage West Midlands stand at this week's MIPIM property conference in Cannes, France, which attracts around 16,000 key players from the world of real estate and property.
Mr Pritchard, chairman and chief executive of Chaseregen and Pritchard Holdings, said: "This is another vital piece in the renaissance of Stafford as a county town, strengthening, revitalizing and adding vibrancy, with something on offer for everyone.
"I am a lifelong champion for Stafford and intend to work with Advantage West Midlands and Stafford Borough Council to oversee this major project and create a bright new vision for the town.
"Significant work has already been done to turn this proposal into reality and a submission for planning consent for the St George's master plan will be made in the near future."
Councillor Mrs Judith Dalgarno, leader of the council, said: "This is an excellent for Stafford and is hopefully the first of many developments the borough will see in the near future.
"Stafford is a fantastic place for both residents and visitors and this new development will go a long way in helping to put the area firmly on the map."
Mark Wright, of Ancer Spa, the regeneration consultancy appointed to select a developer, said: "This site is unique, 27 acres set next to a town centre, and it was no surprise when we had 250 expressions of interest from across the country.
"It was a unanimous agreement that Chaseregen presented the most compelling and sustainable scheme."