Andras launches revised bid for £10 million Portrush hotel development

A digtally rendered image of the plans proposed for the former Londonderry Hotel in Portrush.

BELFAST hotel group Andras has relaunched a £10 million bid to develop a new hotel and apartments in the centre of Portrush.

The company's proposed revamp of the former Londonderry Hotel into 87-bed venue was originally backed by the planning committee at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council three years ago.

But concerns over the historical fabric of the building saw the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) ‘call-in' the planning application during August 2019.

Owned by the Rana family, the Andras portfolio includes the Crowne Plaza Belfast, two Holiday Inns, two Ibis hotels, and the Hampton by Hilton hotel in Belfast.

But the group, now headed by Rajesh Rana, has long sought a flagship hotel in Portush.

Following a lengthy engagement with DfI officials, the company is now back with an 83-bedroom “heritage-led” project, that includes a new cafe, bar and restaurant.

“After lengthy discussions with the planners in the Department for Infrastructure, our architects have come up with a solution that marks a turning point in this story,” said Mr Rana.

“The designs they have submitted are heritage-led and will make a genuinely positive contribution to this listed building.

“This sensitive intervention preserves the best of the remaining fabric of the building while providing much needed tourism accommodation for the north coast,” added the hotel director.

Andras is also planning to redevelop a second listed building across the road from the hotel.

Mr Rana said the former Northern Bank building will be converted into serviced apartments.

“Our investment across the two buildings will total £10m and will create 48 jobs during the construction phase and a further 48 direct and indirect jobs when open and trading,” he said.

“Our target now is to complete the project by the start of 2025 to be ready for the return of the Open Championship.

“That sounds a long way off, but with a lengthy lead-in time for detail design and contractor tendering, and up to 22 months for site works, we really need to have planning permission granted this spring to hit that target.

“The council voted in favour of the planning application three years ago. We are now hopeful that the Department for Infrastructure will give the go-ahead to this important project.”

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