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Ten Square's new owners plan hotel redevelopment: Planning application to refurbish Belfast city centre spot

By John Mulgrew

Work is under way to redevelop Belfast city centre hotel Ten Square following a planning application by its soon-to-be new owners.

Ten Square on Donegall Square, just behind City Hall, is an award-winning hotspot which was once owned by property developer John Miskelly.

But his company lost control of the business in January when administrators EY moved in.

It was understood Kilmona Holdings, led by businessman Paddy Kearney, was in the process of closing a deal to take on the hotel.

Now, a fresh planning application has been submitted on behalf of the firm, Kilmona Holdings, to redevelop the business inside.

That initially includes "internal alterations" on the building, with south Belfast firm Noteman McKee Architects behind the new fit-out at the city centre spot.

It is understood Kilmona Holdings is finalising a deal to take over Ten Square.

It is currently being run by the Dalata Hotel group. Kilmona is headed by Paddy Kearney, one of the so-called Maple 10 - a group of investors who bought shares in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008 in a deal to dilute Co Fermanagh businessman Sean Quinn's stake in the investor.

Ten Square - which was run under the company name of Yorkshire House Ltd - had its debt bought from Nama, the Republic's bad bank, by Promontoria Eagle Ltd last July. It had owed Promontoria Eagle Ltd - a company set up by Cerberus to deal with its assets here - almost £3m.

Since entering administration in January, Ten Square has let several staff go.

The latest update from the administrators showed Ten Square had clawed back £1.7m in takings since EY moved in, according to recent documents filed to Companies House. It also said that it was "highly unlikely" there would be "sufficient funds" to pay unsecured creditors, owed more than £150,000.

According to EY's statement of proposals, Yorkshire House Ltd was "unable to meet its debt when they fell due" and despite "debt restructuring arrangements" being discussed with the directors, "negotiations were unsuccessful".

That led to administrators being appointed.

A prominent and popular spot, Ten Square reportedly went for £10m and first opened its doors in 2000.

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 Hills are also now developing another major hotel close by.

Work was due to start this month on the long-awaited Bedford Hotel at the former Scottish Mutual building.

The £12m boutique project is set to get off the ground soon, following delays caused by a government funding shortfall easing the brakes on the build.

And it's understood fresh tenders have been issued to contractors ahead of the planned work at the six-storey building on Donegall Square South.

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