Holiday Inn Express extension will add 66 beds
A leading Northern Ireland hotel group is planning a major £4m extension at one of its businesses in Belfast.
Andras House, run by Indian-born businessman Lord Rana, is to add 66 bedrooms to the Holiday Inn Express at University Street in the south of the city.
Managing director Rajesh Rana told the Belfast Telegraph the move by the company was driven by a growing need for hotel accommodation in the area.
"There is demand. That hotel is successful and it's a good brand. It's been very busy over the last couple of years, and the hotel benefits from parking on site," he said.
The building will be extended at the back, part of which currently encompasses a car park.
"We have land to the rear of the hotel," explained Lord Rana.
"We would hope to see it starting in the autumn, with a build period of about one year."
It is the latest development from Andras House, which has a new hotel in the works.
The company is bringing the first Hampton by Hilton Hotel to Belfast.
It is a three-star brand similar in style to Jurys Inn. It will be built in Hope Street.
The group saw profits increase by around 12% in the year to April 30, 2015.
The business's turnover remained almost flat for the same period, sitting at £16.1m.
Andras House was established in 1981 with the refurbishment of a Victorian factory in Belfast city centre at a time when there was little appetite for investment in the city.
Founder Lord Rana settled here in 1966 after spending three years in England following his move from India.
Andras House owns five hotels in the city: the Holiday Inn Express, the Ramada Plaza, two Ibis hotels and the Holiday Inn (formerly Days Hotel).
The Ramada Plaza is undergoing a significant refurbishment of its conferencing and banqueting suites thanks to a £500,000 investment.
The hotel previously benefited from a £1m refurbishment that included a transformation of its grand ballroom, lobby and Laganview Suite.