Business

Belfast developer pens 25-year aparthotel lease with new 'hometel' company

A digitally rendered impression of the new aparthotel on Queen Street, Belfast.
Ryan McAleer

WORK is set to begin on a new 175-unit aparthotel in the centre of Belfast after the developer secured a 25-year lease with a new UK ‘hometel’ company.

Oakland Holdings was granted planning permission for the nine-story building on Queen Street in September 2019. The company is headed by Gareth Graham, whose family is behind the Sean Graham bookmaking franchise.

It has penned a pre-let deal with room2 hometels, a new hospitality company backed by the Lamington Group. Oakland expects the project to be completed by the autumn of 2021.

Hometels is based on a concept fusing the home and a hotel. Room2 say its innovations include 24-hour stays and mattress menus.

It opened its first guest accommodation in Southampton in the spring of 2018.

The new aparthotel will feature 175 guest units, with food and beverage facilities at ground floor level and meeting and conference facilities at first floor level.

Robert Godwin of the Lamington Group described the Belfast hotel market as "maturing and changing at a very fast pace”

He added: “This development ticked all our boxes in terms of its location, its modern and contemporary design and its turn-key specification.”

It’s one of a series of major developments planned for the Queen Street area, which includes plans to turn the street’s former police station into a 74-bed boutique hotel.

Argento boss Pete Boyle is behind plans to develop 50,000 sq ft of office and retail space in the former R Carswell & Son’s printworks building, while McAleer and Rushe has been given the go ahead for redevelop the Norwich Union House site, which includes a multi-storey car park facing onto Queen Street.

Oakland Holdings is also nearing completion on the nearby Merchant Square development, which will soon become PwC’s new Belfast headquarters, eventually housing 3,000 workers.

Guy Hollis of Oakland said: “The Lamington Group were a perfect fit for the development as we were able to accommodate their high-end, design led specifications and provide them with the necessary flexibility while at the same time securing a strong and institutionally accepted covenant at a market rent.”

He said the terms of the agreement include a 25-year lease with a tenant option to break at year 20.

Property agents CBRE Hotels and legal firm A&L Goodbody acted for Oakland Holdings in the transaction.

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