Northern Ireland

Cathedral Quarter hotel developer in administration

The Four Corners
Image caption The hotel, which is leased to Premier Inns, is trading as normal

A company which developed a major hotel project in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter has been placed into administration by Bank of Scotland Ireland.

Corner Blok Ltd restored a building on the junction of Waring Street and Donegall Street to create the Four Corners Hotel which opened in 2008.

The hotel is leased to Premier Inns. It remains open and is continuing to trade as normal.

Premier Inns is unaffected by the administration.

The bank is now attempting to sell the hotel to recover the £13m it is owed.

Corner Blok was controlled by Colin Conn, the owner of Box Architects, and Paul Durnien, who owns a chartered surveying company in Belfast.

Their main business interests are unaffected.

The Four Corners building was part of the portfolio controlled by the government-owned Laganside Corporation.

Owed £2.5m

In 2006 Corner Blok paid £1.25m to take the derelict building on a 999 year lease and spent more than £12m to convert it into a 171-bedroom hotel.

The main contractor was D Patton & Sons, a Ballymena-based building firm.

Pattons are still owed £2.5m but the administrator said they were unlikely to get any of that money. A solicitors firm which is owed £175,000 is also unlikely to be paid.

The administrator said Corner Blok had been attempting to sell the hotel since 2009. Last year an offer was made but the deal was not completed.

Papers filed in the High Court outlined that the bank's decision to appoint administrators to take control of the company was due to a delay in the payment of interest and that this was in the interest of the creditors.

The administrator said the sale of the hotel is now "at an advanced stage" but cannot provide further information due to the sensitivity of negotiations.

Bank of Scotland Ireland no longer exists. It was shut down by its parent company, Lloyds, after suffering catastrophic losses on property loans.

Its loan book is being wound down by a company called Certus.

The bank lent heavily to the hospitality sector across Ireland.

Earlier last month it appointed an administrator to the Lough Erne hotel and golf resort in Fermanagh.