Business

Derry brothers line up £20m hotel investment in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Nambarrie Tea Belfast Victoria Street Pic Russell
Ryan McAleer

TWO Derry brothers have said a proposed new hotel in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter would represent an investment of around £20 million in the city.

Lawrence and Brendan Duddy Jnr are part of the Propiteer Ltd business venture which bought the former Nambarrie Tea Factory for £2.5m last year.

The company has now notified Belfast City Council of its intention to demolish the building and construct a new 151-bedroom hotel at the junction of Waring Street and Victoria Street.

According to the notice submitted to city planning officials, Moxy Hotel, which is part of the Marriott Hotel Group, is being lined up as operator.

Planning permission is already in place to knock down the former tea factory to construct 56 apartments.

The Duddy Group has a portfolio of hotel and property investments in Derry, Dublin, Portrush and Exeter.

Speaking yesterday, Lawrence Duddy said the Nambarrie factory marked the family's first major investment in Belfast.

The brothers are the sons of well-known Derry business figure Brendan Duddy Snr, considered one a key figure in brokering the peace process. Mr Duddy passed away in 2017.

Last year the Duddy brothers joined with a number of notable business figures in Propiteer to buy the Belfast building and the Ibis Red Cow hotel in south Dublin.

The 150-bed Dublin hotel was bought for around £12.5m.

Based in Surrey, Propiteer was co-founded by Colin Sandy, a former finance director at Lord Alan Sugar's Amshold Group, and investor Dave Marshall.

Speaking yesterday, Lawrence Duddy said: “Belfast is a great busy city that is doing well and it's our second home I suppose. It's a great location and a natural progression for us.

“It's probably going to be a £20m investment overall.”

The proposed hotel would stand at seven storeys and cover the area occupied by the former tea factory, built in 1959 and the office building building next door, which had been leased to the Youth Justice Agency.

Mr Duddy described the location in the Cathedral Quarter as key for the brothers.

“We're in business in Dublin, Exeter and we're partners in Portrush and we have the new Holiday Inn in Derry and the Ibis in Dublin,” he said.

The Derry native said they had not been deterred by the number of new hotels joining the Belfast market in the past year.

“The hotels in Belfast are marginally down in their average room rates and occupancy, but they're still very strong. The sector had been under-supplied for a long time,” he said.

“It could be two years away by the time this happens and we're assuming the market will be even more settled by that stage. “

Brendan Duddy Junior added: “This will bring more people to Belfast. It's not only about the hotel business, it's about all business in Belfast, whether that's new investment for jobs or in leisure.

He said such investments will be needed for the city to continue to grow.

“More business brings more business and it's very important that all those things have the capacity.”

The details of the planned hotel will be put on display for the public at 41-43 Waring Street, Belfast on December 16.

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