Crumlin Road courthouse to be converted into hotel
A Liverpool-based developer has bought the Crumlin Road courthouse in north Belfast and has said he will spend £25m converting it into a hotel.
Last month, Lawrence Kenwright, from the Signature Living Group, announced plans to develop five hotels in Belfast.
The purchase of the courthouse is his first deal in the city though he owns four hotels in Liverpool.
The courthouse closed in 1998, after nearly 150 years of continuous use.
Mr Kenwright said his key focus would be on preserving the architectural heritage of the Charles Lanyon-designed courthouse, which was built in 1850.
"The courthouse is currently in a state of disrepair and our focus will be on sympathetically restoring the building to its former glory in a way that is both true to its architectural heritage, and aligns with the exciting style for which Signature Living is reputed," he said.
"We see ourselves simply as custodians of these important buildings and the courthouse will very much still belong to the people of Belfast."
- 1850 The courthouse was completed at a cost of £16,500. The building is in the Neo-Palladian classical style, and is connected to the jail across the road by an underground passageway.
- 1961 Robert Andrew McGladdery was the last person to be executed after a trial at the courthouse. He was convicted of the murder of 19-year-old shop assistant Pearl Gamble.
- 1983 Twenty-two IRA suspects were jailed for a total of 4,000 years following a "supergrass" trial.
- Other prominent Troubles cases tried at Crumlin Road include those of the UVF Shankill Butchers, and of Sean Kelly, the IRA Shankill bomber.
- 2003 The building was sold to developer Barry Gilligan, with the aim of developing a hotel and tourist attraction.
Various development plans failed to get off the ground and the building has been damaged in a number of fires.
It has been derelict for 15 years and is in a state of serious disrepair.
The courthouse is one of Northern Ireland's best-known listed buildings.