Belfast's George Best Hotel opening to boost city's economy with plan to employ up to 100 staff
Up to 100 jobs are to be created as a result of the opening of the George Best Hotel, it has emerged.
The hotel is due to open its doors in June - six months later than scheduled - after concerns were raised over the development of the Scottish Mutual B1 listed building close to Belfast City Hall.
The company behind the development, Signature Living Hotel Group, has now announced plans to recruit up to 100 people to work in the hotel in a variety of full and part-time roles when it opens on June 14.
It is the latest boost for Belfast, announced on the same day the cordon around Primark was reduced allowing shoppers to walk between Donegall Place and Fountain Street along Castle Street.
In addition to the £15m George Best Hotel, Signature Living - which is led by Lawrence Kenwright - is behind the £20m transformation of the landmark Crumlin Road Courthouse into the 77-room Crum Hotel as well as a 43-room hotel on Waring Street.
The company now plans to host its first guests at the George Best Hotel on June 14 and it has revealed that plans are under way to begin recruiting staff.
They are looking for staff to fill a range of vacancies from front of house to kitchen and cleaning staff.
The recruitment drive is part of overall efforts to fill 1,500 full and part-time positions at new hotels over the next 12 months.
Mr Kenwright said: "Signature Living is entering an era of dynamic growth and with that comes major investment into recruiting people to help us maintain our position as the UK's most innovative and fastest-growing hotel developer and operator.
"I am particularly pleased about the expansion of our apprenticeship programme which will be focused on young people not currently engaged in employment, education or training," he added.
The long-awaited 63-bedroom George Best Hotel faced a setback at the end of last year after it emerged that Belfast City Council had opened an enforcement investigation in relation to the £15m project at the distinctive city centre building.
Officials launched the move after architects from the Department for Communities' Historic Environment Division (HED) raised concerns over "unauthorised works" at the landmark Scottish Mutual Building.
After a site visit, they claimed that the works which were taking place "fail to be informed by a conservation-led approach".
Signature Living Hotel Group had to delay the original opening date from December to the new June date.
At the time the firm, based in Liverpool, said it had been "continually" faced with objections from a nearby business to it obtaining a licence.
At the time, Mr Kenwright said: "It is very unfortunate and extremely frustrating that these objections have caused us to delay our opening."