Ulster Life has this morning learned the former Scottish Mutual building opposite Belfast City Hall is to be transformed into a luxury, stylish ‘boutique’ hotel as part of a major £12 million-pound investment plan which will create more than 180 full and part-time jobs, it was announced today.
Tullymore House Limited, the company which owns and runs the successful Galgorm Resort and Spa, said it had recently acquired the landmark building and that it had ambitious plans to sympathetically restore it to its former glory in a revamp that will provide a welcome boost to the city centre’s burgeoning tourism economy.
It said that as part of the upgrade, two bars and two restaurants were earmarked for the ground and first floor areas in the 1904 Grade B1 listed building, which straddles Bedford Street and Donegall Square, one of which would have a ‘Parisian’ theme which would incorporate an outside garden area at street level.
There are also plans for a large ‘seated’ function room for more than 120 people on the second floor, which captures the magnificent views over the City Hall gardens, in addition to a further two smaller function rooms to accommodate either private dining, business events or other functions.
The upper three floors in the 42,000 square foot, five-story building will be upgraded to accommodate up to 40 hotel bedrooms and 10 serviced apartments.
The hotel’s main entrance will be on Donegall Square.
Colin Johnston, Project Manager, said: “This truly magnificent, iconic city centre building has all the key ingredients – location, beauty, space and heritage – for a welcome and sympathetic restoration into a luxury, boutique hotel designed to accommodate the hospitality needs of everyone in the city, from discerning tourists, local socialites, diners and businesspeople with an eye for a quality venue.
“We are really delighted that we can add real value and worth by turning this landmark building into a modern, bright and stylish venue which will sit comfortably alongside the city’s best hotels. This investment is significant for the city, it’s a vote of confidence in the prospects for the economy and it will bring a new, exciting dimension to Belfast’s hospitality offering which is backed, supported and driven by successful and experienced hoteliers.”
Rob Jennings from award-winning architects Robinson McIlwaine Architects, which has drawn up the initial designs, said: “We’re thrilled to be involved in making plans for this stunning building which are designed to accentuate all of its original features and the wonderful feeling of space which is very much a feature already. This building has fantastic potential both as a new city centre hotel and as a premier entertainment venue in a highly-distinguished building in a prominent location. We can’t wait to make these plans a reality.”
Tullymore House Limited is planning to invest in the region of £12 million in the project and that it hoped that once plans are approved it could start work as soon as possible with the aim of completing works before the end of 2015.
The company estimates that the hotel and entertainment areas could support up to 180 full and part–time jobs once up and running, which were additional to the estimated 100 jobs which could be supported during design, building and fit-out stages.