Opening of new George Best Hotel delayed

The George Best Hotel is now set to open in September, three months later than initially planned

THE landmark George Best Hotel in Belfast is behind schedule The Irish News can reveal.

Construction on the 63-bedroom hotel has begun on site at the Scottish Mutual Building in the city centre, but it is now expected to be complete in September this year, three months later than originally planned.

It is understood there is a no major reason why the development is behind, rather it is the case that builders are taking extra care due to the age and condition of the listed building.

The £15 million hotel is one of five set to be built in the city by Liverpool developer Signature Living. The company, headed by Lawrence Kenwright is also behind the £25m redevelopment of the historic Crumlin Road Court House to create the 150-bedroom Lanyon Hotel and the War Memorial Building on Waring Street. At this stage there is no update on when these hotels will open their doors. Both had initially been scheduled for 2018 openings.

The delay in construction on the George Best Hotel comes just over a month after the Liverpool developer submitted amended plans for

a reduced 63-bedroom capacity. The company initially stated last year that the capacity would be around 80 rooms.

Signature Living bought the Scottish Mutual building early last year for more than £6m and has since collaborated with the Best family on the venture dedicated to honouring the late great football icon,

In June family and friends of the football legend, including his sister Barbara (McNarry), presented Signature Living with iconic items of memorabilia to start a unique collection at the new hotel.

The items included replica European Cups, a silver Northern Ireland cap, paintings of George and a shirt signed by many of the mourners who attended his funeral.

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