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Landmark Belfast building to be transformed into new hotel

Lawrence Kenwright has purchased the Scottish Mutual Building, a listed site behind City Hall. Credit: Presseye

A Liverpool based developer has announced plans to transform one of Belfast's landmark buildings into a 15 million pound hotel.

Lawrence Kenwright has purchased the Scottish Mutual Building, a Grade B1-listed site behind City Hall.

Mr Kenwright's latest move in the city's hospitality sector comes after he bought the derelict Crumlin Road Courthouse last month with a similar vision to transform it into a hotel.

The Signature Living Group has already transformed the former Liverpool headquarters of the White Star Line and the ex-Coal Exchange building in Cardiff into hotels.

Mr Kenwright has a plan to open a George Best-themed hotel in Belfast, but it remains unclear whether the Scottish Mutual Building project will be his homage to the football hero.

He said his initial focus would be preserving the heritage of the building's architecture.

"The building is currently in astate of disrepair and we will be focusing on sympathetically restoring this stunning, Scottish baronial-style landmark building back to its former glory and architectural beauty, as well as aligning it with Signature Living's exciting style and guest experience," he said.

Previously, the developer announced plans develop as many as five hotels in the city over the next three years, creating at least 500 jobs.

Mr Lawrence Kenwright outside the Scottish Mutual Building, Signature Living’s second major investment in Belfast this year. Credit: Presseye

The Scottish Mutual Building, designed by architect Henry Seaver and opened in 1904, had been owned by the Tullymore House company, which runs the Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena.

It purchased the site in 2013 with plans to develop a boutique hotel, but that never reached fruition.

While the purchase price has not been disclosed, a spokesman for Tullymore House described the offer as"exceptional".