Belfast Telegraph

Building work to start on £27m hotel in Belfast's Titanic Quarter by spring

By John Mulgrew

Work is due to start on a high-end hotel at the former Harland and Wolff headquarters in Belfast, with plans to extend the development further.

The grand proposals for a hotel at the former drawing offices in the Titanic Quarter have now changed to include 120 bedrooms - up from 84.

A spokesperson for Titanic Quarter Ltd said work was due to begin "shortly" on the development, which is expected to finish in time for 2017.

It is believed that ground will be broken on the project before the spring.

"Construction work on a new 84-bedroom boutique hotel based in the former Harland & Wolff headquarters building is due to begin shortly, with completion scheduled for 2017," the spokesperson said. "A planning application for an additional 36 bedrooms, bringing the total to 120, was lodged in 2015." The new development could be worth around £27m.

Last year, the project was awarded a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The hotel, which has been in the works some time, will include attached areas for tourism, focused on developing the offices as spaces for public use.

While the current building has been mostly empty since closing its doors in 1989, it played host to a craft beer festival last year, as well as other smaller events.

It is thought that as many as 250 jobs could be created during the building's construction.

The Titanic Quarter currently only has one hotel - a Premier Inn located close to the SSE Arena on the Queens Road.

The hotel is one around 20 in the works across Belfast.

The green light was given to three other major developments over the last few months.

That includes the £30m Grand Central hotel in Belfast - a 206-bedroom development at the former Belfast Metropolitan College building on Brunswick Street - and the Hampton by Hilton hotel.

City councillors approved plans for the proposed 179-room Hampton on Hope Street, which is owned by Andras House - Lord Rana's hotel group.

The latest occupancy figures for our hotel industry paint a positive picture for the sector.

The average room occupancy rate increased by 2.4% last year, rising to 74.1%. The cost of rooms increased to almost £64 on average - up 8.2% on 2014.

By the end of 2018, Belfast is expected to have around 1,000 additional hotel rooms, which is an increase of approximately 25% on the current number.

"Northern Ireland has been slow to come out of recession but globally trading has improved," Ciaran O'Neill, president of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said.

"Recently, with improved confidence (in the sector), finance is also more readily available and property development is deemed viable.

"This is evident in the fact that there are a significant number of new hotel projects in the planning and development phases, with over 20 in Belfast and three in Londonderry alone."

Belfast Telegraph