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George Best Hotel and Belfast docklands venue get go-ahead

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An artist’s impression of the proposed Hamilton Dock hotel

An artist’s impression of the proposed Hamilton Dock hotel

An artist’s impression of the proposed Hamilton Dock hotel

Belfast City Council has given the green light for two new hotel developments in the city centre.

Last night the council's planning committee approved plans for the long-anticipated George Best Hotel in Donegall Square, and for a 276-bed family-focused hotel to be located at Hamilton Dock in the Titanic Quarter.

Set to be developed by hospitality group JMK Group, the Hamilton Dock hotel will be located just off Queen's Road.

JMK Group chairman John Kajani said last night: "We are delighted with Belfast City Council's decision to approve this exciting hotel development and are eager to progress our investment in the area."

The Hamilton Dock hotel development will offer a range of amenities, including a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the Titanic Quarter, a gym and conference facilities.

Situated beside the Hamilton Graving Dock, SS Nomadic and Titanic Belfast, it will be positioned in a prime location for visitors exploring the area's top attractions.

Construction on the hotel is expected to begin this spring, with an anticipated opening date in summer 2021.

At the same meeting councillors also gave their backing to the long-awaited George Best Hotel in the city centre.

Property developer and hotel operator Signature Living says the funding is in place to complete construction, and now that the final planning consent hurdle has been passed, construction will continue.

The hotel in the heart of Donegall Square will see the Scottish Mutual Building transformed into a 65-bedroom hotel.

Celebrating the life and career of Northern Ireland footballing icon George Best, the venue will offer a ground floor bar and restaurant and a top floor multifunctional conference and wedding venue.

The building was purchased by Signature Living in 2017, but has been subject to planning delays related to its status as a listed building.

The developer said it now intends to complete construction, at which point it will get the hotel revalued as a fully finished trading hotel, enabling it to refinance it and buy out all individual investors, delivering them their full return on investment.

Signature Living chairman Lawrence Kenwright said: "We're delighted to have achieved planning permission and finally be on the home straight in the construction of this beautiful hotel.

"Restoring listed buildings is not always a smooth ride and it hasn't been so with this hotel, but I'm excited that we are now close to the George Best joining our stable of successful trading hotels.

"We are grateful to our investors for their patience with this development and we will be in touch with them all over the coming weeks to commence the buy-back process."

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