Business consortium gets go-ahead to build new boutique hotel in Larne
A consortium has been given permission to turn two former pubs in the centre of Larne into a new boutique hotel.
A number of businessmen are behind MBA Inver Investments' £3.2m plan for the former Dan Campbell's bar on the town's High Street.
The directors of the company include Larne-based businessman Simon Ashe and Mervyn McKay, the former chief executive of Larne FC, .
The developers expect a mixture of 37 part-time and full-time jobs to be created through the venture.
The plan emerged in December, with the interested parties saying they had spotted "a gap in the market to provide a quality boutique-style hotel within Larne town centre to service the tourist visitor and business visitor market".
In a report submitted last year in support of the proposal, the consortium said it would seek backing from Invest NI to build the hotel.
It also described the project as an investment in an "important gateway route through the town centre".
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Officials at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council signed off on the project, which will see Dan Campbell's bar and The Thatch bar demolished, last week.
The proposed hotel has been designed by Larne-based DA Architects.
The consortium hopes to begin work on the scheme by the end of the summer.
The plans include a new bar on the ground floor, with a restaurant and function room on the first floor.
Guest room accommodation will be on the upper floors.
Dan Campbell's bar was put up for sale in July 2016 with a guide price of £150,000.
It went under the hammer in March last year and was acquired by MBA Inver Investments.
It is believed the site was bought for significantly below the guide price.
The four-storey building, which is understood to have been sold without a licence, currently includes 14 guest rooms.
Former Larne FC chief Mr McKay previously said the developers wanted to build a "stylish boutique hotel".
"As the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland continues to thrive, we feel the time is right to build this new, high-quality hotel to contribute to the continual development of Larne's reputation as a great place to visit," he explained.
"The location of the hotel is close to a number of great local attractions, including the Gobbins, Carnfunnock Country Park and many of the vastly popular Game of Thrones filming locations, which will help to draw visitors to the town."