20 February 2015

Plans for £50m 250-room Belfast city hotel now gathering pace


Plans have been approved for the construction of a new £50m hotel in Belfast by County Tyrone firm McAleer & Rushe.

It’s the latest in a series of new hotels for the city, which includes the proposed Mutual Hotel at the listed Scottish Mutual site.

The latest development at College Avenue near CastleCourt Shopping Centre would have 250 bedrooms over 10 storeys and is led by Larkmeadow, a subsidiary of Cookstown-based McAleer and Rushe.

However, the area has been described as “blighted by roads infrastructure and poor building frontages”.

The Department of the Environment’s Planning Service confirmed the long-standing plans have been approved, with a significant number of jobs expected once construction commences.

But a spokesman for the company pointed out the approval was a “renewal” of previous consent granted some time earlier by the DoE.

“It’s a renewal of a previous consent and McAleer and Rushe are considering their options and are in discussions with a number of different hotel operators,” a spokesman said.

The company has owned the site on College Avenue “for a number of years” and plans to redevelop it first emerged in 2000.

Described as being under the control of McAleer and Rushe but under a “different guise”, the original application was submitted by College Court Properties and Consarc Architects.

They proposed demolition of a warehouse for a mixed use development, including offices, retail and residential properties.

That application received planning approval nearly two years later in February 2002.

Permission was sought for a hotel in 2005, and approved in 2008 – though work did not start due to the recession.

But the latest application was submitted in September 2013 and approved last week.

A return of confidence to the market, as well as a perceived demand for new mixed-use development, prompted the renewal.

The entire project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Janice Gault of the Hotel Federation said: “Belfast has a number of significant projects in the pipeline.

“Current market analysis would indicate that there will be an additional 600 rooms in the marketplace by 2017.

“There is work underway at the Waterfront Hall which would positively effect the marketplace with an increase in conference and meetings business.

“In order to trade profitably and effectively, the business mix in the city would need to change.”

Rooms for hire: Six more in the making

Titanic Drawing  Offices, Belfast

Plans to convert the old Harland & Wolff offices into a hotel were boosted this week by news of a £4.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Scottish Mutual Building, Belfast

The listed building was bought by the owners of the Galgorm resort to be transformed into a £12m hotel, The Mutual. It won planning permission last March though major building work has yet to begin. It has lost out on a £500,000 funding boost due to a grant freeze.

City Quays Hotel, Belfast

The proposed 150 to 200 bedroom “upscale” hotel in Belfast Harbour is part of the wider Harbour Commissioners’ City Quays development.

Tillie and Henderson, Derry

Lord Rana’s Andras House Group won planning permission in December for a new hotel at the former factory site.

Northern Counties Club, Derry

The Bishop Street venue is being turned into a 31-bed hotel by Conway Brothers Construction.

Shipquay Street, Derry

A former bank building will be transformed into a 20-bed hotel by The Inner City Trust.

View this and more articles on the Belfast Telegraph.

Caption: An artist’s impression of the Mutual Hotel planned for Belfast.

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