June 2020 target for completion of George Best Hotel

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 24 January 2020

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Northern Ireland: Belfast City Council has granted permission for the final phase of construction of the 65-bed George Best Hotel on Donegall Square.

Signature Living, the property's developer and hotel operator, purchased the Grade B1-listed building in 2017. The project has been subject to delay related to the building's listed status.

Formerly the Scottish Mutual Building, originally named the Scottish Temperance Building due to its purpose of housing the Scottish Temperance Insurance Company, is to be transformed into a 65-bed boutique hotel.

Named after George Best, a Northern Irish football icon, the venue will offer a 150-cover ground floor bar and restaurant, as well as a 120-cover top floor conference and wedding space.

Once completed, the hotel will be revalued as a fully finished trading hotel, at which point Signature Living will refinance the hotel and buy-out all individual investors.

Lawrence Kenwright, chairman of Signature Living, said: "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."

Liverpool-based Signature Living currently operates six properties in the UK, including the Signature Living Apart-Hotel, Arthouse Hotel, and Alma de Cuba bar-restaurant. The Shankly Hotel and 30 James Street Hotel were put up for sale at £57 million last year.

The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff marked the group's first hotel outside of Liverpool, the final phase of which is due to be completed in quarter two of 2020.

At present, 12 other properties are under construction: Dixie Dean Hotel, Old Hall Street apartments, Cavern Walks, Bankfield Park, and Kingsway House (Liverpool); The Shankly Preston (Preston); George Best Hotel, The Waring, and Lanyon Hotel (Belfast); Signature Mill and Liverpool Road (Manchester); and Rainhill Hall (Merseyside).

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