Merchant owners' new Belfast hotel gets planning permission
The owners of Belfast's Merchant Hotel have been given the green light to build a new £4m 58-bedroom hotel in the city centre.
100 new jobs will be created when the new Bullitt hotel - seemingly inspired by the Steve McQueen classic of the same name - opens in Belfast city centre next spring.
The hotel will be based on the corner of Victoria Street and Ann Street, at the old Lagan House building.
The plans also include the addition of an extra storey to the building, to provide another ten bedrooms.
It was approved at Tuesday night's planning committee meeting at Belfast City Council.
The Beannchor Group says it will "epitomise urban chic with stylish, contemporary surroundings, alongside affordable room rates".
The complex will also include a public work space with desktop computer access for residents and non-residents, high speed wi-fi and charging points for phones.
And there will also be a ground floor restaurant with a courtyard garden.
James Sinton, director of Beannchor, said the development will bring "much needed regeneration to a prime location".
He said: "The project is simply a change of use for an existing vacant building and the hotel's location - on the doorstep of Belfast's main shopping district - will bring something new to the area's hospitality offering."
The grand hotel will be clad in a dark reflective glazing.
And planners have said the hotel site is "within a prime city centre location" which will "bring increased vitality and viability" into the city centre.
This is the fourth application for a hotel to be put forward for council approval in the past four months.
Committee chairman Matt Garrett said it was another positive example of the benefits of planning powers having been transferred to local authorities earlier this year.
“The fact that we have been able to grant planning permission for four major new hotels in as many months is a clear demonstration of how this council is committed to working for the benefit of the city, and to ensuring that proposals such as these are moved forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“When planning powers transferred to the council in April, we inherited a legacy of more than 700 outstanding applications.
"Since then, we have issued around 100 decisions a month, which shows that we have very much hit the ground running in terms of not only clearing this backlog of legacy applications but also in processing new applications.”
Work will also begin soon on the new £30m Grand Central hotel at the 23-storey Windsor House building in Belfast, according to boss Howard Hastings.