Business

New Crumlin Road Courthouse hotel to open in 2019 says developer

Crumlin Road Courthouse is set to be transformed into a new 77-bedroom hotel after planning permission was granted earlier this week. Picture by Hugh Russell
Gareth McKeown

THE developer behind the transformation of the landmark Crumlin Road Courthouse has said the new hotel will open next year.

Speaking to The Irish News, Signature Living boss Lawrence Kenwright said he is "absolutely delighted" planning permission

has been granted for the £20 million project, one of four hotels initially planned for Belfast.

Belfast City Council gave the green light for the restoration and conversion of the former court house at Tuesday night's planning committee, paving the way for construction work to start on the new 77-bedroom Crum Hotel.

"We've already on the way with all the contractors," Mr Kenwright said.

"You can't gain funding for a site without planning permission. So now funding is in place it really gets things rocking and rolling,which is great."

Mr Kenwright explained that part of the hotel will be open in 2019 and while a challenging project given the building's listed status and current disrepair, he believes previous experience transforming the old Coal Exchange building into the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff will stand them in good stead.

"I think it's an important building and it's a great thing to bring it back to be a public building," he said.

"It's never been a public building really before, but now you'll be able to stay there, have a meal there, and have a drink there. I think it will be a huge important tourist beacon as well as the jail. I feel they will complement each other."

Speaking about Signature Living's other live projects in Belfast, Mr Kenwright confirmed the 63-bedroom George Best Hotel at the Scottish Mutual building will open in the first week of December.

He also is hopeful that the Waring Hotel, housed within the old War Memorial Building on Waring Street, can open before the end of the year. At present work is taking place at the site to remove asbestos.

Earlier this year Mr Kenwright outlined ambitious plans to acquire and transform Belfast's Floral Hall into an hotel, and speaking yesterday he again re-iterated his interest in the site.

The Floral Hall, housed within the grounds of Belfast Zoo is currently owned by Belfast City Council.

"If they want to put it out there in the public domain I'll jump at the chance," he added.

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