Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has recommended planning approval for a £12million conversion that will transform the iconic Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast.
Listed building consent has also been approved to sympathetically convert the Grade B1 Listed Building into a boutique hotel opposite the City Hall.
The prominent listed building, in Donegall Square, is within the Linen Conservation Area meaning that it is within an area that played an important role when Belfast was the established linen capital of the world. The building is over a 100 years old, dating back to 1904. Currently it is partially occupied.
Plans retain all of the original features. There will be two bars and two restaurants on the ground and first floors and 40 hotel bedrooms and 10 serviced apartments on the upper three floors.
Mark H Durkan said: “This is welcome news for Belfast City Centre. The significant investment demonstrates a confidence in the local economy. This boutique style accommodation will boost tourism by enhancing the choice for tourists, business travellers and local people.
“The plans to convert this beautiful building sympathetically will restore it to full use and ensure that it remains an historic landmark within the Linen Conservation Area of Belfast City Centre. The work will also bring construction jobs in the short term and full and part time jobs when up and running.
“Due to its economic significance this proposal was designated a Large Scale Investment Project and both the planning application and Listed Building Consent were determined within six months. This is all part of my vision for a fast, fair and fit for purpose planning system that builds a better environment and a stronger economy.”
Notes to editors:
1. Planning application (Ref: Z/2013/1300/F, “Conversion of existing Scottish Mutual Building to Boutique Hotel comprising public bars, restaurants, function spaces, hotel bedrooms and loft apartments to include internal and external alterations”) and Listed Building Consent application (Ref: Z/2013/1296/LBC, “Proposed conversion of existing Scottish Mutual Building to Boutique Hotel to include internal alterations; external repairs to stonework; repairs and replacement of windows; repairs and replacement of roof coverings and rooflights alterations to existing shopfronts including provision of a lightweight awning; extension to building in rear courtyard alterations to James Street South elevation to create service access”) were received on 6 November 2013.
2. No objections were received and the applications were processed as streamlined applications.
3. The applicant is Tullymore House Ltd, which also owns the Galgorm Resort and Spa, near Ballymena.
4. The Scottish Mutual Building was listed on 11 March 1988, and is graded B1.