Approval for city centre boutique hotel

Published Tuesday, 04 March 2014
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Plans to transform a landmark building in Belfast city centre into a boutique hotel have been given the green light.

Approval for city centre boutique hotel
An architect's impression of how the hotel will look. (© Robinson McIlwaine)

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has recommended planning approval for a £12m revamp of the 100-year-old Scottish Mutual Building, which sits on the corner of Bedford Street and Donegall Square behind the City Hall.

The development of the 40 room hotel is anticipated to create 180 full and part-time jobs.

A potential 100 jobs will be supported during the construction phase.

The company behind the proposal is Tullymore House Ltd, which owns and runs the Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena.

The building was purchased for an undisclosed sum- but NAMA had put the building on sale for £1.75m.

The plans, which will retain all of the building's original features, comprise of two bars and two restaurants on the ground and first floors and 10 serviced apartments alongside the hotel rooms on the upper three floors.

It was originally hoped that work would be completed by 2015, however, it is now estimated that the hotel could be open by summer 2016.

Mr Durkan said listed building consent had also been approved to enable a "sympathetic" conversion of the Grade B1 Listed Building.

"This is welcome news for Belfast City Centre," said the minister.

"The significant investment demonstrates a confidence in the local economy. This boutique style accommodation will boost tourism by enhancing the choice for tourists, business travellers and local people.

"The plans to convert this beautiful building sympathetically will restore it to full use and ensure that it remains an historic landmark within the Linen Conservation Area of Belfast City Centre."

Colin Johnston, project manager of the hotel development, said: "These plans have been carefully based on our belief that we can add real value and worth by turning this landmark building into a contemporary and stylish venue which will sit comfortably alongside the city's best hotels, and our commitment to deliver a top quality offering that will continually exceed the expectations of our guests.

"We look forward to starting work and watching the hotel take shape as this impressive building once again becomes a landmark for the city centre."

© UTV News
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