Posted on Wednesday 5 March 2014 by Ulster Business
An artist's impression of the new hotel planned for Belfast city centre.
Plans for a £12m scheme to convert a listed building opposite Belfast City Hall into a luxury boutique hotel have been given formal planning approval.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said consent had been given to Tullymore House Ltd – the company which owns the Galgorm Resort & Spa - to "sympathetically convert" the iconic Scottish Mutual Building into a 40 room hotel.
The prominent listed building in Donegall Square is within the Linen Conservation Area, which played an important role when Belfast was the established linen capital of the world. The building is over 100 years old, dating back to 1904.
Plans submitted by Tullymore House, which is owned by the Ballymena-based Hill family, retain all of the original features and include two bars and two restaurants on the ground and first floors and 10 serviced apartments on the upper floors. The project is expected to be completed by summer 2016.
The Minister said: "This is welcome news for Belfast City Centre. 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. The work will also bring construction jobs in the short term and full and part time jobs when up and running."
The former Scottish Mutual building opposite Belfast City Hall was purchased early last year by Tullymore House Limited, which said it had ambitious plans to sympathetically restore it to its former glory. It estimates the revamp will provide a boost to the city centre's burgeoning tourism economy, creating more than 180 full and part-time jobs.
Colin Johnston, Project Manager, 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."