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New hotel for Belfast's Bank Square is one of 20 planned in the city

By John Mulgrew

Published 28/08/2015

Artist's impression of the new hotel that's planned for Bank Square
Artist's impression of the new hotel that's planned for Bank Square
The planned Grand Central Hotel
The planned Bedford Hotel

A new four-storey hotel in Belfast will be the latest addition to the burgeoning number of places to stay in the city and is one of a staggering 20 planned.

The boutique hotel at Bank Square, beside the Mourne Seafood restaurant, will have 17 rooms and its own ground floor eatery.

The man behind the hotel, Mark Matthews of MM Developments, said it will aid in the ongoing rejuvenation of the area.

He said: "I look forward to working closely with the Department for Social Development to deliver the boutique hotel project, which will complement the existing hospitality offered in the square and create new jobs and much-needed economic activity in this unique part of the city centre."

The latest addition to Belfast's growing list of hotels has been welcomed by Janice Gault, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

"It's a good idea, a boutique hotel, which is very popular at the moment.

"It's a good product in an up and coming area."

The notable increase in the number of proposed hotels is being fuelled by a Government push to increase the level of beds available in Belfast to accommodate an expected larger influx of of both business visitors and tourists.

There are now 38 hotels in the greater Belfast area, with just under 4,000 rooms available.

But if the 20 hotels in the pipeline go ahead - and it's not likely they all will - that could add around 2,500 new rooms for the city.

Ms Gault said if there was a blip to affect the planned expected increase in business, it could present a challenge.

She said: "It's one of those chicken and egg situations. You have to go with it.

"We are very positive about things at the moment."

Belfast has witnessed a lot of hotel activity in the last few months, with a number of big projects announced.

One of those is the £30m four-star, 200-bedroom Grand Central Hotel run by Europa owner Hastings.

It will transform the landmark 23-storey Windsor House in Bedford Street.

Benedicts Hotel in Bradbury Place is to get an additional 24 rooms.

And a planned new hotel from the same developers could bring up to 100 new jobs.

Last month the Belfast Telegraph revealed work will start in September on the long-awaited hotel project at the former Scottish Mutual building.

Meanwhile, the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices are being turned into an 84-bedroom hotel, with yet another hotel proposed as part of the City Quays development.

Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey said the newly announced development - which is subject to planning permission - "will be the final piece in the jigsaw of regenerating Bank Square".

And Bob McCoubrey, owner of the Mourne Seafood restaurant, said the new addition "can only help the area".

"We are happy enough," he explained.

"It's good to see more hotel rooms in Belfast."

The comprehensive list of properties has been catalogued on the website - curated by Gary Potter.

16 of the proposed hotels

  • Titanic Hotel, Drawing Offices
  • City Quays Hotel, City Quays
  • Grand Central, Bedford Street
  • Benedicts Hotel extension
  • The Bedford, Bedford Street
  • Blackstaff Square Hotel
  • Lagan House Hotel
  • Bank Square Hotel
  • Queen Street Hotel
  • Novotel, Great Victoria Street
  • Corporation Street Hotel
  • Donegall Street Hotel (team behind Benedicts)
  • St Andrew’s Square Hotel
  • Odyssey Quays Hotel
  • Hamilton Dock Hotel
  • South Yard Hotel

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