Londonderry's newest hotel opens its doors for business today with the creation of 60 jobs.
The seventh Premier Inn in Northern Ireland is located in the Waterside area and boasts 60 bedrooms, a 200-seater family pub restaurant and marks a £6m investment by the company.
Cathy Hopkins, general manager for Premier Inn Northern Ireland, said today's opening demonstrated how the company was keen to make a contribution to Derry.
“After several years planning, we are proud to open our seventh hotel in Derry-Londonderry,” she said.
“As we approach the arrival of the City of Culture in 2013, we believe the new Premier Inn hotel at Crescent Link will play an important role in the celebrations by offering visitors a great value accommodation option.
“We are keen to make a contribution to the local community and believe our new Brewers Fayre restaurant will also be a positive addition to the city’s social scene.”
When the company advertised the range of positions available, it saw an unprecedented number of applications for the 60 places.
A total of 1,200 applied and the response was far above any recruitment drive the company has previously experienced.
Among those who went on to secure a job was Adam Harris, the newly-appointed team leader for the hotel.
“The entire team at Premier Inn Derry-Londonderry are ready and raring to welcome our first guests,” he said.
“The opening of this new hotel is a welcome addition to the city and we are excited about the future, particularly the action-packed year that lies ahead with the City of Culture in 2013.”
Foyle MLA William Hay has been working to bring investment and regeneration projects to the Waterside.
He said: “This marks the fruition of several years of careful negotiations but is only the first phase of a wider project that will bring employment to the Waterside.
“The spin-off economically of the Premier Inn locating at the Crescent Link will be felt right across the entire city.
He added: “This will hopefully be followed by other projects wanting to locate in the Waterside, which will be announced by the Environment Minister soon.”
A decision on planning permission is thought to be imminent for the multi-million pound complex at Crescent Link retail park in the Waterside area of Londonderry. A masterplan to transform Crescent Link could create hundreds of jobs.
It includes a Sainsbury’s superstore, petrol station, six-screen cinema, several multi-storey office blocks, a three-storey healthcare facility, residential property, 769 parking spaces and other retail outlets.