Gallery: Restoration work begins on former Crumlin Road courthouse
WORK has begun on developing the site of the former Crumlin Road courthouse in Belfast into a new £25 million luxury hotel.
The heritage building, dating back to 1850, is set to be transformed into a 160-bedroom hotel by Liverpool-based developers Signature Living.
Construction workers have moved onto the site with scaffolding now in place outside the disused building in north Belfast. Work was also being carried out inside the building yesterday.
The courthouse, designed by Sir Charles Lanyon and the scene of some of the north's most horrific cases, including the Shankill Butchers' trial, has been closed since 1998.
Since then the building has suffered major damage, including a massive arson attack in 2009, and has fallen into a state of disrepair.
But Signature Living have vowed to invest around £25 million in the building and restore it to its former glory.
The north Belfast development is part of as many as seven hotels that the developer could build in Belfast, including the George Best Hotel at the Scottish Mutual Building.
The first images of the proposed new hotel were released in July with the developer pledging it will be up and running in 18 months.
Lawrence Kenwright from the company told the Irish News earlier this year that the Crumlin Road development was one of the biggest challenges he has ever faced given the state of disrepair the former court house has fallen into.
"Crumlin's the big one for me," he said.
"It's the toughest one and is going to take the most of my time so that's the one I will love getting involved in."