Belfast Telegraph

Belfast city centre hotel Ten Square enters administration

By John Mulgrew

Belfast hotel, bar and popular wedding venue Ten Square has gone in to administration.

An award-winning hot spot in the city centre, control of the business was taken over on Tuesday.

The four-star venue - located behind the City Hall - had been owned by property developer John Miskelly.

Administrators EY have now been appointed to the run the business.

The firm - formerly Ernst & Young - said all events booked with the hotel will go ahead and it will be "business as usual".

"Andrew Dolliver and Luke Charleton of EY have been appointed joint administrators of Ten Square, Yorkshire House, a boutique hotel located in the heart of Belfast City.

"The hotel will continue to operate business as usual," the firm said.

Last night Mr Miskelly was not available, with requests for comment about the situation being forwarded to EY.

"All events booked with the hotel will go ahead and deposits paid will be honoured," it said.

It's understood administrators visited the city centre bar and restaurant on Tuesday afternoon.

The 23-bedroom hotel at Donegall Square South was sold to Mr Miskelly by Nicholas and Paul Hill, owners of the Galgorm Resort near Ballymena, in 2008.

The business reportedly went for £10m.

It first opened its doors back in 2000.

Mr Miskelly, who is from Drumaness in Co Down, hit the headlines in 2007 when he made a failed bid to buy Liverpool Football Club.

In 2008 there had been plans for the operation to expand from 23 rooms to more than 100.

Mr Miskelly also owns a chain of convenience stores, nursing homes and a medical supplies distribution company.

And he has a property portfolio that includes buildings in Belfast city centre.

Ten Square is held by a company called Yorkshire House Ltd.

Its last set of accounts - for the year ending March 2013 - showed a loss of £161,000.

It's one of several businesses operating under the parent company of Pyperhill Ltd, of which Mr Miskelly is listed as a director.

Pyperhill Ltd, which is registered to an office on Belfast's Lisburn Road, suffered a loss of £35.9m for the year ending March 31, 2013, according to the latest documents filed to Companies House.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster, said the news that Ten Square had entered into administration was "very disappointing".

He added: "Despite recent reports that Northern Ireland's pubs and restaurants are at a lower risk of insolvency than their UK counterparts, we can see that the hospitality industry is still facing significant challenges.

"Hotels in particular operate in a very competitive and ever-changing marketplace.

"I'm glad to hear the business will continue to operate as normal until a resolution can be found and I would be hopeful that the business would present a promising opportunity because of its city-centre location and the fact that it has traded very well."

Background

Ten Square opened its doors in 2000 and was formerly owned by the Hill family, which also own the luxury Galgorm resort in Ballymena. It was sold to Co Down developer John Miskelly in 2008. The hotel occupies a Grade 1 listed building within Donegall Square called Yorkshire House. It was constructed in the 19th century. On Tuesday, Ten Square entered administration. The news comes as the latest figures show fewer pubs are now at risk of going under in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the UK.

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