Built in 1846, the Murray Premises, a National Historic Site, is the oldest collection of mercantile buildings related to the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Murray Premises, which survived the Great Fires, was named after Andrew H. Murray, a 19th century merchant of salt, coal, and general supplies. These buildings have been used as warehouses, offices, and machine shops and for more than one hundred years, the Murray Premises has been a major highlight of the St. John’s waterfront.
The buildings were originally built on pilings sunk into the harbour floor. Most were constructed with masonry walls, wood floors, and wood interior supports. Some feature brick infill interior walls of timber frame not unlike the half-timber construction of the European middle ages.
In the 1970s the Newfoundland Historic Trust and the St. John’s Heritage Foundation saved the Premises from destruction and helped begin the preservation of the structures. The restoration plan allowed for as much of the original character of the buildings to be maintained while converting the buildings into a modern commercial complex. Within approximately eight months after the restoration began, 70 percent of the commercial space was leased. The official Grand Re-opening of the Premises was held on November 30, 1979.
During the 1980s and 1990s, ownership of the Murray Premises changed several times. In 1996, a local businessman, William Mahoney, purchased the property and is still the owner. The story of Murray Premises Hotel began in early 2000 when the third and fourth floors were renovated and developed into hotel guest rooms. Guests began staying at St. John’s first boutique hotel in May 2001, at which time the hotel had 28 rooms.
The success of Murray Premises Hotel was instant and the realization for additional guest rooms was imminent. In July of 2006, the property continued its growth with the addition of the second floor Executive Suites, bringing the total number of rooms to 47. The last major expansion was completed in early 2010, with 20 new rooms in the east wing bringing the total to 67 guestrooms.
Last but not least, addition meeting space was added along with two business suites off the main lobby, completed in August 2013. Today, Murray Premises Hotel, with 69 guestrooms, continues to welcome visitors to this beautiful historic building to experience old world charm with new world comfort.