£8m hotel 'will be ready for The Open' in Portrush
A new £8m 103-bedroom hotel planned for the north coast is hoping to meet growing demand for golf in Northern Ireland ahead of The Open championship in two years' time, it can be revealed.
Andras Hotels, run by businessman Lord Rana, is planning to knock down the old Londonderry Hotel building in Portrushand build a new development.
Portrush will host The Open in 2019.
Rajesh Rana, managing director of Andras, told the Belfast Telegraph that the attraction of golf is one of the main driving factors behind the development.
"That is part of the reason. Golf is the driver," he said.
"There is an urban development grant which is applicable to Portrush. This would be big investment, creating jobs and regeneration for the wider area."
Mr Rana said the hotel would be a £7m to £8m investment. And he said the company is "speaking to a couple of brands", which could operate the development. He's also optimistic that the hotel could be ready in time for The Open in 2019. It's the company's first hotel on the north coast.
The Open will mark the first time in 68 years that the event has been staged in Northern Ireland. It's one of golf's four majors, alongside the US Open, PGA Championship and Masters.
It's expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in the country.
The Open was last played at Royal Portrush in 1951 when Englishman Max Faulkner lifted the trophy.
Meanwhile, next month the 2017 Irish Open, hosted by McIlroy's Rory Foundation, will be held on the Strand course at Portstewart, from July 6-9, where the world number two will be looking to defend the title he won last year at The K Club.
With the tournament moving from its usual May slot to a more desirable July week, it means club officials are hoping that up to 30,000 people will attend each day.
Plans for the hotel have also revealed the "proposed demolition of existing buildings within the full extent of the site at 39-41 Main Street and Atlantic Avenue, Portrush to be replaced with new 103 bedroom hotel over five storeys plus partial basement".
It says the "hotel accommodation is to be supported by restaurant/bar".
A design and access statement for the hotel says that "the regeneration of the area has been a priority and has been encouraged to bring buildings in the town back into use ahead of The Open championship in 2019, which is set to boost tourism".
Meanwhile, early drawings of the new hotel concept suggest that it could be another budget Ibis development.
Andras currently runs an Ibis hotel in Belfast city centre.
It also owns the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels, Crowne Plaza and Cordia apartments.