Plans for another new hotel in Lisburn are put on hold

The Haslem Hotel opened in Lisburn earlier this month. But a procurement process for another facility in the city has been scrapped
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A PROCUREMENT process to build a new 80-bed hotel in Lisburn has been put on hold, it has emerged.

At the start of last year Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council begun a process seeking developers for a unique full-service hotel in Castle Street to be fully operational by 2022.

But the council has confirmed that contract was not awarded.

It said it will now bring forward an opportunity to the market for a mixed use development on the site, which could still enable the development of a hotel as part of any plans.

"In addition, there are a number of publicly-owned sites in the Lisburn area that would be suitable for hotel development in the future," the council told the Irish News.

In December NewRiver, the new owners of Sprucefield, said it too was scrapping existing plans for a boutique hotel on the site of the retail park and instead was "working up our own development plans for a new vision".

Lisburn had historically been under-served for hotel provision, and for many years was the only city of its size in the UK without a major hotel.

But that changed around a decade ago when Premier Inn opened an 80-bed hotel on the outskirts of the city.

And earlier this month the Beannchor Group opened its 45-room Haslem Hotel in the heart of Lisburn, an investment of more than £4 million, creating 50 jobs.

It occupies around 30,000 sq ft of the Lisburn Square scheme, built on the site of the former Argos store and adjoining first floor space.

While opening in the midst of a pandemic isn't ideal, with travel at a near-standstill,Haslem owners the Wolsey family have been bullish about its prospects, and early bookings are understood to have been encouraging despite the restrictions on hospitality.

For many new hotels, however, the decision to open is one that has often been years - and millions of pounds - in the making, with a project typically taking anywhere from two to four years to develop and open.

Meanwhile Lisburn's Premier Inn Hotel owners Whitbread were granted planning permission more than a year ago add another 51 bedrooms and bring its capacity to 141, but that project has yet to start.

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