ENVIRONMENT Minister Mark H Durkan has granted planning permission to turn a listed building in Belfast city centre into a hotel.
The Scottish Mutual building, facing Belfast City Hall, will be transformed into a 40-bedroom hotel called The Mutual.
The building is owned by the Ballymena-based Hill family and it will retain all its natural features.
The Minister said the plans would ensure the building “remains an historic landmark within the Linen Conservation Area”.
He added that due to the economic significance of the proposal it had been designated a “Large Scale Investment Project”, allowing both the planning application and Listed Building Consent to be determined within six months.
The hotel will include two bars and two restaurants along with 10 serviced apartments in addition to the 40 bedrooms.
The developers, Tullymore House Limited, said the development could support up to 180 full and part-time jobs once it is up and running, as well as around 100 jobs during the design, building and fit-out stages.
Project manager Colin Johnston said: “These plans have been carefully based on our belief that we can add real value and worth by turning this landmark building into a contemporary and stylish venue.”
The Hill family, who also control the Galgorm Resort and Spa in County Antrim, bought the building from the Irish government’s National Asset Management Agency almost two years ago for less than £2 m.