Premier Inn secures first Cambridge centre site above shopping centre

Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel business, is bringing its popular Premier Inn hotel brand to the heart of Cambridge City Centre at the Lion Yard Shopping Centre.

It has agreed a lease with investment and asset manager abrdn to convert vacant office space above the popular shopping centre into a 125-bedroom Premier Inn hotel.

When it opens the hotel will be Premier Inn’s first hotel in the centre of Cambridge and its fourth location across the historic city.

Paul Smith, Acquisitions Manager for Whitbread, noted, “We have an excellent track record of converting former office spaces into vibrant and successful Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotels.

'We were able to take this experience to abrdn and work with them to develop plans to convert a redundant office above the popular Lions Yard shopping centre into a latest format Premier Inn hotel.

“This acquisition will allow our business and leisure customers to stay in a unique location in the very heart of historic Cambridge. Our partner abrdn also benefits from a secure, indexed-linked income stream from Whitbread and our expertise at converting existing spaces into thriving hotels.

'We are looking for other similar opportunities across the country as we grow our network towards our target of 125,000 Premier Inn and hub bedrooms.”

Construction work to convert the hotel is due to commence in March (2023) with Premier Inn expecting to welcome its first guests to the new hotel in mid-2024. As it does so, the hotel will grow Premier Inn’s network in Cambridge to more than 425 affordable bedrooms.

The Cambridge Lion Yard Premier Inn will feature the brands latest format ‘standard’ and enhanced Premier Plus bedrooms as well as its integrated ground floor F&B space. Approximately 30 new jobs are expected to be created on opening with recruitment focused locally.

Whitbread currently operates 82,000 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn bedrooms in the UK and Ireland and has a long-term target to achieve 125,000 UK and Ireland rooms.

The company was advised by Cambridge-based property consultants MP Real Estate on the Lion Yard acquisition and it continues to search for new locations in Cambridge and across the eastern region for its popular hotel brands.