Belfast Telegraph

New Titanic-themed hotel is earmarked for Belfast's Shankill Road

By John Mulgrew

A Titanic-themed hotel could be built in west Belfast amid fresh plans to revamp a former church.

The project could see the Shankill Road Mission Presbyterian Church transformed into a 50-bedroom, four-star hotel, inspired by the famous ill-fated cruise liner.

Argyle Business Centre is set to take control of the building, according to the North Belfast News.

Drennan McBride of the business centre said "at least five" individuals and companies have expressed an interest in taking on the project.

He said a "feasibility study has been completed along with an economic appraisal and they have come back positive".

"We inherited Argyle about seven years ago and kicked in a lot of business strategies that took us from 40% occupied with 60 people to over 400 employed and 100%," he told the newspaper. "We have gone from the smallest enterprise agency in Belfast to the second biggest.

"We were thinking that with the university coming, the mission could be turned into managed accommodation.

"But that idea progressed through a backpackers' hostel to developing a four-star hotel with a focus on training."

Those behind the scheme say they aim to see 100 trainees graduating each year.

Meanwhile, work is already under way on a long-awaited hotel at the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices in the Titanic Quarter.

The team behind the hotel say it will open this year. In 2015 the project was awarded a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The 84-bedroom hotel will include attached areas for tourism focused on developing the offices as spaces for public use. It's thought as many as 250 jobs could be created during construction.

The drawing offices have been empty for decades, only being used for a number of small events.

The Harland & Wolff headquarters, which once housed 500 staff, was built in three stages between 1889 and 1922.

Across Belfast there are around 20 new hotels at various stages of development. That includes the Grand Central on Bedford Street.

Hastings Group is now planning to turn the former Windsor House building into a 304-bedroom development - the largest in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph