THE INTERNATIONAL chain that was lined up to run a hotel at the former site of an iconic Newport nightclub has said it is “no longer involved” in the process.

A spokesperson for easyHotel says the company has discontinued talks to set up at the former home of TJ’s on Clarence Place after Newport City Council gave the green light for a 58-bedroom hotel in 2019.

The proposals enjoyed unanimous support from city councillors at the time with detailed plans to restore the Grade-II listed building which had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Planning officer Joanne Davidson told councillors it would be a budget hotel, with no associate facilities such as a gym or restaurant, with the roof and rear extension demolished and an extra fourth floor built.

The restored building would also include two ground level “commercial units” which could have sold food and drink between 8am and 11pm from Monday to Saturday and 10am and 8pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

TJ’s nightclub hosted an assortment of musical stars over the years including The Stone Roses, Oasis, and Blackwood’s own Manic Street Preachers. Urban legend also dictates it was the location where Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love after she played the venue with her band, Hole.

The council said there were no realistic prospects to revive the site as a live music venue after the death of TJ's owner John Sicolo in 2010.

South Wales Argus:

In the early hours of September 1, 2013, some 24 firefighters tackled a blaze at the building believed to have been the result of a deliberate rubbish fire.

South Wales Fire and Rescue crews spent an hour and half tackling another blaze at the disused site in August 2016.

Despite easyHotel stepping away from talks, the council remains keen to see the building brought back into “beneficial use” and notes that consent for it to be turned into a hotel is “still valid”.

South Wales Argus:
Progress on the front façade over recent months has allowed the builders to remove hoarding from the pavement but it is unclear where the future of the historic building lies.

A spokesperson for easyHotel said: “We previously looked into an opportunity to work with the building owner and a franchise partner to turn the building into an easyHotel but have since discontinued these talks and easyHotel is no longer involved in the process.”

London-based easyHotel has locations in eleven European countries, including one in central Cardiff that opened in March 2021.