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Iconic Belfast Bank of Ireland building could become a luxury hotel

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The old Bank of Ireland in Belfast

The old Bank of Ireland in Belfast

The old Bank of Ireland in Belfast

New plans have been submitted to transform the empty Bank of Ireland building in Belfast into an luxurious hotel.

The distinctive Art Deco building on the corner of North Street and Royal Parade has been vacant since 2005.

It was briefly taken over by protestors from the 'Occupy Belfast' group in 2012.

It's reported that a pre-application notice for the bank and adjoining buildings has been submitted.

The company, who are linked to the developers McAleer and Rushe, have proposed a mixed use scheme incorporating a hotel, apartments and offices.

Constructed during 1929-30, the five storey structure is considered to be one of the finest modernist buildings on the island of Ireland and has a B+ listing, the second highest rating possible.

John Anderson from Ulster Architectural Heritage said he was would wait to see the plans in detail, but was "wary" that the character of the building would be preserved.

"It's a very significant building," he said. "If it's going to be surrounded by tower blocks I don't think we would be very impressed.

"Having said that, the plans might be absolutely magnificent."

As a listed building, he added it was "a cardinal mistake" to assume that only the Art Deco facade, and not key elements of the interior, should be maintained.

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Belfast Telegraph