PICTURED: Amir Khan's £5 million wedding and banqueting hall development in Deane as planning bosses give their approval
BOXING sensation Amir Khan says he wants to “make Bolton better” with his plans for a £5 million luxury banqueting hall.
The stunning plans to reinvent a plot of wasteland in Washington Street, Deane, as a wedding venue, restaurant and conference hall will raise the profile of Bolton, attract businesses to the town and create as many as 125 jobs, according to the boxer.
The ex-IBF and WBA light welterweight champion added that along with the Gloves Gym he opened in 2008, it will give him interests to pursue when he retires which could be as soon as “three to four” years from now.
Work will start straight away and it is hoped it will be finished in 18 months.
Developers plan to have the structure of the building in place by Christmas.
Amir said: “We’ve always had the ambition to have something like this in Bolton but it was about getting the space and the area right.”.
“That’s the reason that we’re looking to start work now. This is a long-term investment for us.”
The £5 million spend is a private investment into Bolton and shows the 26-year-old’s commitment to his home town. He said: “We want to make the town better, we want to get people talking about it and coming into Bolton to do their business work here.
“Hopefully people can follow in our footsteps and start building more and investing into Bolton.
“It is going to provide jobs and will be really good for the town. I’m putting the money back into Bolton and giving something to the community.
“A lot of people go out of town for meals, to Manchester or wherever but why, when we’ve got Bolton here and the town deserves 100 per cent to have the best facilities.”
Amir and his family, including father Shah, will play a lead role in running the venue. “I want to be involved, and I can’t box all my life so I have to get into different things,” said Amir.
“It will be our place and we will be coming here to make sure everything’s okay.
“I’ve been all over the world and I know what’s good and what is not, so I can help in the planning as well.”
Once open, the building will stage wedding receptions and business conferences in a 620-seater buffet restaurant. Shah said: “This is a derelict site and I thought it would be great to utilise it. It’s very hard round here to find a suitable site, with space for parking, but we have that here.
“People will use it from Blackburn, Oldham, Preston and Manchester and that interest will be great for Bolton.”
Bolton firm, Ash & Sons, in Chorley Old Road, will be building the venue, employing between 20 and 25 workers on site.
Shah thinks his initial estimate of 75 new jobs may reach 100 or 125 people when it’s fully operational, which will be good for local people.
And Amir sees property as a useful venture to pursue.
“I’ve got a few years left in boxing yet, probably three or four years, and I think it’s good to set up things now while I am fighting and have them in place if, God forbid, things go wrong,” he said.
“After boxing, if I’ve got businesses running I can relax a bit and look to the future.”
The development will contain a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, an 800-seater function hall on the second floor, a VIP restaurant and breakout area on the second floor, a roof terrace and 51 parking spaces.
The Gloves Community Centre and Gym is a charitable foundation in Prince Street, founded as a result of a £700,000 investment from Amir five years ago.
Planning permission was granted yesterday.
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