Northern Ireland

Belfast's Scottish Mutual building to become new hotel

Lawrence Kenwright opposite the Scottish Mutual building Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Signature's owner Lawrence Kenwright on the steps of the landmark building

A Liverpool-based developer is planning to invest £15m in a new hotel at the Scottish Mutual building in Belfast.

It is Signature Living's second purchase in recent weeks, after buying Crumlin Road Courthouse last month.

The listed building, which has been sold by the Ballymena-based Hill family, already has planning permission for hotel use.

Signature has plans for up to five Belfast hotels over the next two years, including a George Best-themed hotel.

The Scottish Mutual building, in Bedford Street in the city centre, will not be the Best hotel.

Signature owns four hotels in Liverpool, including one themed around footballer Bill Shankly, best known for his time as manager of Liverpool FC.

Belfast is undergoing a hotel-building boom with six under construction and planning granted for a further 13 projects.

Signature's owner Lawrence Kenwright said: "The building is currently in a state of disrepair and we will be focusing on sympathetically restoring this stunning, Scottish baronial-style landmark building back to its former glory and architectural beauty.

"By committing £15m to the project, we see this as an investment in Belfast and Northern Ireland's flourishing tourism industry."

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