Business leaders unite in support of revised £6.6m Portrush hotel plan
REVISED plans for a new 87-bedroom, £6.6 million hotel in Portrush - previously refused due to concerns raised by Historical Environment Division - go before Causeway Coast and Glens Council's planning committee this Wednesday.
And business organisations from across the north have united in urging councillors to give the go ahead for the hotel, which they believe will positively transform the economy and job prospects of the seaside town.
The Federation of Small Business (FSB), Hospitality Ulster, NI Hotels Federation, Retail NI, Ulster Stores Limited and the Causeway Chamber of Commerce have lent their unanimous support to the development.
Each has made written appeals in a bid to encourage councillors to allow the development, which is being brought by Belfast-based hotelier Andras House and is set on the site of the former Londonderry Hotel, which is a B1 listing building, to pass the planning stage.
If approved, the project will regenerate the area and will contribute an estimated £1.4m a year to the local economy, create 48 jobs during the construction phase, pump £4.8million to the Causeway Coast and Glens area and bring an additional 41 new jobs when the hotel opens.
Andras Hotels director Rajesh Rana said: “We've worked extremely hard to develop the plans to allow the refurbishment and restoration of two important listed buildings on Main Street – the Londonderry Hotel and the former Northern Bank across the road. These two projects will dramatically improve the economy of this wonderful seaside town.
“We are committed to retaining the history of the site and important architectural features which will be preserved along with artefacts, pictures and stories.
“The hotel concept will reflect the heritage of this important site and will retain and preserve the historic features.
“The two beautiful mosaics featuring the previous names of Black & Sons and the Londonderry Hotel will be kept and refurbished, and the interior design scheme will retain the Atlantic Bar entrance screen."
He added: “World-class interior designers have been appointed who have prepared fantastic proposals for the re-use of the buildings facing Main Street and to celebrate the heritage of the town in the most unique and celebratory way.
“The interiors will reflect the history of these buildings as well as the unique transition of the Portrush setting, from Victorian seaside resort, to the coastal heritage and global golf appeal.
“If approved, we intend to start work on the hotel later this year and open our doors to visitors by the start of 2021
“We hope councillors will recognise the tourism benefit and economic investment we are seeking to deliver for the town and wider area and approve the application.”
The revised plans will see the important front terraces retained, refurbished and enhanced while the rear parts of the site will be redeveloped to provide new build construction which will host the majority of the bedrooms and public areas on ground floor.
Anthony Newman, president of Causeway Chamber of Commerce said: “We need for this type of high-quality, well designed hotel accommodation in Portrush town centre.
"We believe the new proposals will provide much-needed accommodation and hospitality amenities whilst retaining and celebrating the history of Portrush.”