City church to be reborn as an eatery and 21-bed hotel
A disused Belfast church could become the city's latest hotel under revamped plans.
Hospitality group Tullymore House Ltd, owner of the Galgorm Resort in Ballymena, proposes turning the former Holy Rosary Church on Ormeau Road into one of its Fratelli restaurants and a 21-bedroom hotel.
Design and planning documents say the vision for the site "is a contribution towards the regeneration of this section of the Ormeau Road through the sympathetic reuse of a prominent but derelict listed building and the restoration/extension of the adjacent building to provide a boutique hotel".
Project manager Colin Johnston told the Belfast Telegraph: "Since commencing work on the property we have decided, due to several factors, to reposition our initial offering to include an accommodation element.
"Once we had the opportunity to get in and start work, we were able to fully appreciate the sheer size and scale of the space, and, after exploring a number of options, we agreed there was potential to create an exciting accommodation offering to complement the restaurant.
"The growing success of our other city centre food outlets as well as the continued positive growth in tourism in Northern Ireland gives us confidence in the potential for further expansion at this site.
"We really look forward to meeting and working with local residents and businesses to create what we feel will be a great addition to the local community."
The documents say the plan "will secure the future use of the grade B1 listed building, which is on the buildings at risk register and has been derelict for over 35 years".
The scheme includes internal and external alterations to the listed building and erection of a single storey extension to the rear.
The existing former parochial house will be retained, refurbished and extended to provide the 21 rooms.
The area between the listed building and the hotel will be landscaped
More than £1m will be invested improving and enhancing the site, which has been derelict since 1980, although last year the church used to screen movies as part of the annual Belfast Film Festival.
Around 30 builders will be employed, and 40 full and part-time jobs will be created on completion.
Tullymore House Ltd recently invested more than £11m in a redevelopment programme at Galgorm. And its successful Fratelli group boasts one restaurant in the four-star resort and another on Great Victoria Street in Belfast.