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Belfast's Dukes Hotel goes on the market with a price tag of £3m

By John Mulgrew

Published 19/05/2015

Dukes Hotel on University Street, Belfast, is on the market
Dukes Hotel on University Street, Belfast, is on the market

Belfast's Dukes Hotel is going on the market with a price tag of  £3m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The 33-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant - which is now called Dukes at Queen's - is located in the student heartland of south Belfast, just metres away from the university itself.

It's currently owned by hotelier and bar owner, Eamon Diamond, and underwent a major revamp when he took it over in 2009. And it is expected to draw in "good interest" following a number of other hotel sales since the beginning of this year.

It's believed the hotel has had high levels of occupancy over the last few months.

It's understood potential buyers are likely to come from Northern Ireland, but interest could also come from elsewhere in the UK.

Hotelier Eamon Diamond also owns a number of other well-known businesses, including The Washington Bar in Belfast and the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor.

The four-star Dukes now boasts the 110-seater Claudine's restaurant, as well as a cocktail bar and function room which can hold a further 110 people.

And it comes as sales have also been agreed for the Crescent Townhouse - which went for more than £1m - with The York in Portstewart also selling.

It's the latest hotel to go on the market in the last few months, in a year which has witnessed a number of big transactions.

It comes as the home of CCEA in Belfast's Clarendon Dock goes on sale for £6m. It's been put on the market by owners La Salle Investment Management.

Meanwhile, Brian Lavery, managing director of estate agency CBRE Belfast, believes 2015 will see further activity in the hotel sector, as owners take the decision to sell amid better market conditions.

And he said hotel occupancy rates are expected to reach an all-time high this year. "Last year, occupancy rates of around 76.2% were achieved and are expected to push beyond 80% in 2015," he said.

"This will be the fourth year in a row of improving occupancy rates, which is great news for both the hotel sector and the wider economy."

The move to sell Dukes Hotel comes after several other successful deals this year.

That includes the 69-bedroom Ramada hotel in Portrush, which was sold to City Hotel Group in a deal worth in excess of its £2.75m asking price. And Ireland's largest hotel group, Dalata, purchased the Holiday Inn on Belfast's Ormeau Avenue for £18.5m in March this year.

Many hoteliers are choosing to sell to "take advantage of a resurgent market", according to Paul Collins, CBRE's head of hotels in Ireland.

"Many experienced property investors are now seeking hotel investment opportunities and this sector is becoming a more mainstream asset class, alongside student accommodation, nursing homes and residential," he said.

"If occupancy levels continue to show consistent strong growth in Belfast, there may be a shortage of bedrooms in the city.

"However, there are a number of new hotel schemes being considered... if all are developed, this is likely to add a further 500-600 rooms into the city's existing stock."

Belfast Telegraph

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