Lansdowne Hotel is sold to local hospitality investor for £1.25 million
THE Lansdowne Hotel in north Belfast has been sold to a locally-based licensed operator for a sum in the region of £1.25 million, the Irish News can reveal.
The purchaser, understood to be a well-known name in the hospitality sector, is expected to take vacant possession of the 25-bedroom hotel with weeks.
And work could start on a major refurbishment of the Antrim Road property before the end of the summer with a view to having the Lansdowne up and running by Christmas.
The popular hotel went on the market in May, just three weeks after around 30 staff were laid off by Metro Inns, which had owned the property since 2012.
The UK chain, which operates six other budget hotels in England and Scotland, had originally bought the Lansdowne out of administration for around £700,000 (at that stage it had been part of the Welcome Group, a family owned chain of hotels and Chinese restaurants).
However, earlier this year Metro Inns said it was closing the hotel indefinitely following "serious health and safety concerns".
In a statement at the time a Metro spokesman said: "On April 11 the Lansdowne Hotel called an emergency meeting with all staff members to inform them that effective immediately the hotel would be shut for major refurbishment.
"This refurbishment was originally scheduled for early summer but had to be brought forward due to immediate health and safety concerns following a recent environmental inspection.
"Due to the seriousness of the safety issues involved, extensive investigations and work will have to be carried out and as such, it is impossible to judge the length of closure of the business.
"Due to this, all staff have to be laid off and when the hotel reopens for operation, those staff members will automatically be contacted to resume their duties."
The statement added: "At this time it is not known if the Lansdowne Hotel, when reopened, will operate under its former Metro Inns banner."
Soon afterwards the hotel, located close to Fortwilliam Golf Club, Belfast Castle and Cave Hill Country Park, was listed for sale by property agents Osborne King.
The agency's director Mark Carron said: "The current position is that the Lansdowne Hotel has been agreed for sale to a local investor, and the deal is due to complete in the coming weeks."
The three-storey property comprises bars, a restaurant, 25 en-suite bedrooms and function facilities. There is also car parking at the front of the property and a separate entrance to a restaurant space.