Northern Ireland

Hotel plan granted for Belfast Scottish Mutual building

The Mutual hotel Image copyright Dcal
Image caption Artist's impression of what The Mutual hotel will look like

Planning permission has been granted to convert a listed building in Belfast city centre into a hotel.

The Scottish Mutual building, opposite the city hall on the corner of Bedford Street, will be transformed into a 40-bedroom hotel called The Mutual.

The building is owned by the Ballymena-based Hill family.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the plans would ensure the building "remains an historic landmark within the Linen Conservation Area".

He added that due to the economic significance of the proposal it had been designated a "Large Scale Investment Project", allowing both the planning application and Listed Building Consent to be determined within six months.

The plans retain all of the building's original features.

There will be two bars and two restaurants along with 10 serviced apartments in addition to the 40 bedrooms.

'Landmark building'

The developers, Tullymore House Limited, said the development could support up to 180 full and part-time jobs once it is up and running, as well as around 100 jobs during the design, building and fit-out stages.

Colin Johnston, project manager, said: "These plans have been carefully based on our belief that we can add real value and worth by turning this landmark building into a contemporary and stylish venue."

The Hill family, who also control the Galgorm Resort and Spa in County Antrim, bought the building from the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) in 2012 for just under £2m.

At the peak of the property boom in 2008, the Hills sold another nearby hotel, Ten Square, for a reported £17m.

They had earlier sold the site of their Tullymore House Hotel in Broughshane, County Antrim, to a housing developer.

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