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‘Game changer’: Work begins on Ebrington hotel

The start of construction works for a new 152-bed Ebrington Hotel has been welcomed by Stormont’s leaders.

The £15m development includes £7.25m through the NI Investment Fund and £1.75m from Invest Northern Ireland.

First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill were joined by developers Cecil Doherty and Liam Tourish to cut the first sod as work gets under way.

They said the project will transform five buildings on the Ebrington site, including the Clock Tower, into a four star hotel with spa and leisure facilities. Work is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

The former military base in the Waterside area was ‘gifted’ to the city in 2003 by the Ministry of Defence. Locals have criticised slow progress over the years.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at the site yesterday, James Huey, owner of gastropub Walled City Brewery, said the introduction of a hotel is a game changer for the site.

“The area has been lacking in passing custom and night life. This will change everything,” he said.

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“Anecdotally, a lot of people that have contacted me about wanting to get into Ebrington now because they know that this is actually happening.

“The location is incredible, you could sit out there any day of the week with those views .”

Mr Huey along with his wife, Louise, opened the business in 2015 when others advised against such a move.

They are now optimistic about the future of their business which will double its footprint this year when it opens a standalone Taproom and Experience Centre.

Mr Givan said: “As work begins on the Ebrington Hotel, I’m pleased to mark another step forward, not just for the Ebrington site, but for Londonderry itself. It continues to grow as a vibrant, modern city which is looking to the future with confidence — and there is a real sense of that optimism here today.”

Ms O’Neill added: “The commencement of construction on the Ebrington Hotel is a milestone day for Derry.

“This major investment will create jobs both during the construction phase, and after the hotel has opened.”

Mr Doherty, the hotel developer, believes Ebrington’s future is “very bright”.

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