DEVELOPER Garrison Barclay Estates has released the first artist impressions of its ambitious plans for Newport's tallest building - the Chartist Tower.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the tower could become a hotel.

The news come after the 15-storey Chartist Tower was sold to Cardiff-based property developer Garrison Barclay Estates back in December. 

The tallest building in Newport, along with the former BHS store in the city centre and a number of other shops, was sold to the developer for £6.5 million.

The company, which is also behind the redevelopment of the former sorting office in Mill Street, is now working with the council on “a number of options” to regenerate the building.

And, at last week's Newport City Summit it was revealed plans are being developed to convert it into a hotel.

Garrison Barclay director Ian Carter said the hotel would have between 120 and 160 bedrooms, depending on the hotel operator.

Mr Carter added: “Until the operator is confirmed, we won’t know the exact number of rooms.

“Apart from the Celtic Manor, we are also talking to three other major hotel brands in the four and five hotel market.”

Mr Carter said they are aiming for a four star hotel as Garrison Barclay believe it will fit in with ongoing developments in and around Newport such as the International Convention Centre, and it will give a level of hotel offering in the centre that is currently not available.

"We are in close dialogue with the council and are working to create a scheme that meets their ambitions for the building," he added.

“In the design, there is the option to put a restaurant at the very top, which would have fantastic views over the city and beyond.

“Given the height of the building, it is a fantastic opportunity to put a restaurant at the top but again it will depend on the operator.”

The director said they are hoping to confirm the hotel operator in six weeks’ time. Once it is confirmed, they will put a planning application in and, once they get planning permission, they will start the work.

They anticipate that, all being well, the hotel could be open in early 2019. 

Mr Carter said the development will involve at least a £10 million investment

He added: “We think it is a fantastic location. 

“We are also looking at having retail and office space in the lower levels.

"We know from the Newport City Summit that there is a lot of need for grade A office space.”

Mr Carter said they are also looking at providing conference facilities – different from those on offer at the Celtic Manor. 

When the sale was announced Mr Carter said: “Newport is a city with a long and proud history which over the past couple of years has had a real resurgence.

“The construction of Friars Walk shopping centre, which is adjacent to the building, has seen the city centre become a destination again, as developers of Newport’s tallest building we are looking forward to continuing our positive work with Newport City Council.”