Belfast City Council has granted planning permission for the final phase of construction at Belfast’s George Best Hotel, the target completion date is June 2020. Property developer and hotel operator Signature Living says the funding is in place to complete construction, and now that the final planning consent hurdle has been passed, construction will continue apace.
The hotel, in the heart of Donegall Square, will see the Scottish Mutual Building transformed into a 65-bedroom boutique hotel. Celebrating the life and career of Northern Irish footballing icon George Best, the venue will offer a 150-cover ground floor bar and restaurant and a 120-cover seated top floor multifunctional conference and wedding venue.
The stunning Grade B1 listed building was purchased by Signature Living in 2017 and has been subject to planning delays related to its status as a listed building.
The developer now intends to complete construction, at which point it will get the hotel re-valued as a fully finished trading hotel, enabling it to refinance the hotel and buy-out all individual investors, delivering them their full return on investment.
Lawrence Kenwright, Chairman of Signature Living, commented: “We’re delighted to have achieved planning permission and finally be on the home straight in the construction of this beautiful hotel. Restoring listed buildings is not always a smooth ride and it hasn’t been so with this hotel, but I’m excited that we are now close to the George Best joining our stable of successful trading hotels. We are grateful to our investors for their patience with this development and we will be in touch with them all over the coming weeks to commence the buy-back process.”
Founded in 2008, Signature Living currently operates 6 trading properties in the UK, including the Signature Living Apart-Hotel, The Shankly Hotel, 30 James Street Hotel, Arthouse Hotel and Alma de Cuba bar-restaurant, which are all located in Liverpool. The group opened its first hotel outside of Liverpool, The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff, in 2017, the final phase of which is due to be completed in Q2 this year.
The Group currently has 12 other properties under construction and employs over 700 people. Signature Living specialises in large group accommodation, heritage hotels and spectacular weddings & events spaces which are located within many of the Group’s hotels.