A fresh boost has been handed to the planned new hotel in Birmingham's famous Grand building after the site was bought by French investors.
Paris-based Foncière des Régions has spent £858 million on 14 four- and five-star hotels operated by Principal Hotel Company in the UK from US parent company Starwood Capital.
It was announced a year ago that Principal would work in partnership with the building's owner Hortons' Estate to redevelop and then operate a new 180-bedroom hotel which is currently under development at The Grand.
It is due to open in early 2019.
Principal specialises in opening venues in landmark city centre buildings and plans to have an infinity pool atop the iconic listed address overlooking Birmingham Cathedral.
Other features set to be developed at The Grand include conference and banqueting space.
Despite its huge tourism economy and being a popular destination for business and political conferences and weekends breaks, Birmingham does not have a five-star hotel.
It is still not known at this stage exactly what facilities the new hotel at The Grand will have but this new investment raises the spectre that it could become Birmingham's first five-star venue, especially as Principal already runs some elsewhere in the UK.
The Grand is a striking landmark in the city and in recent years has become a night-time destination of choice for both the Colmore Business District and weekend party-goers.
It has already benefitted from millions of pounds worth of investment by both Hortons' Estate and the public purse and the long-running regeneration has welcomed bars The Alchemist and Gusto and retailers Up & Running and Cycle Republic among the new openings.
Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons' Estate, said: "We are aware of today's announcement and clearly this is very exciting news for the future of The Grand Hotel.
"At this stage, we have nothing to add to the statement made by Fonciere des Regions and Starwood Capital."
Cody Bradshaw, managing director and Head of European Hotels for Starwood Capital, said: "This landmark transaction represents a major milestone in our remarkable journey with the Principal Hotel Company.
"Five years ago, we embarked on an investment strategy aimed at consolidating more than 50 hotels across four different UK hotel companies to form a leading platform.
"As long-term institutional investors, Foncière des Régions are extraordinary custodians of real estate and we could not be more thrilled to pass them this iconic collection of assets."
Dominique Ozanne, deputy chief executive of Foncière des Régions, added: "Foncière des Régions is continuing its strategy to move upmarket in the hotel real estate industry.
"This acquisition is an opportunity to duplicate the development strategy already rolled out in France, Germany and Spain, where Foncière des Régions is the preferred partner of active operators on these markets.
"This transaction will help Foncière des Régions cement its leading position on the hotel real estate investment market in Europe."