Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Premier Inn keeps doors open despite landlord's financial problems

By Heather McGarrigle

It's business as usual at Premier Inn's landmark Belfast hotel, despite its landlord being placed in administration.

Corner Blok, the development company behind the renovation of the distinctive building on the corner of Waring Street and Donegall Street, and current owner of the building, has been placed into administration by the Bank of Scotland Ireland (BOSI).

Premier Inns' Four Corners Hotel leased the building from Corner Blok, but the hotel chain said its landlord's difficulties will have no impact on the hotel.

Keith Freeman, the group's regional operations manager for Ireland, said: "The Premier Inn at Waring Street, one of our six highly successful hotels in Northern Ireland, continues to trade very well and business at the hotel will in no way be affected by the administration."

The Four Corners Hotel opened its doors in 2008, creating around 75 jobs and boasting 171 rooms, plus a 200-seater restaurant and bar.

The former bank building had been derelict for 15 years before its £15m restoration.

Bank of Scotland has pulled out of Ireland and its loan book is being wound up by Certus, a company controlled by senior management from BOSI.

The bank, which is owned by Lloyds, confirmed that administrators were appointed on March 13, 2011. Administrators Deloitte has vowed to do the "utmost to achieve best value" for the firm's creditors.

Ballymena construction firm D Patton and Sons were the main contractors in the building's renovation and it is believed the company is still owed £2.5m from the project - money it is now unlikely to receive.

A spokesman for the Patton Group confirmed that it was owed "a substantial amount of money".

"As part of our ongoing financial planning we have worked hard to minimise the effect this outstanding amount has had on our cash flow and have also liaised closely with our supply chain to minimise the financial impact on them," he said,

The Patton Group feels the bank was "acting hastily" in placing Corner Blok into administration, he added.

£15m

Cost of restoration after former bank building lay derelict for 15 years

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