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Plans for George Best hotel in Belfast unveiled

The former Scottish Mutual Building in the city centre will be transformed into a George Best-themed hotel.

Plans for a George Best-themed hotel in Belfast have been officially unveiled.

It doesn't look like much yet, but the former Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast city centre is about to get a facelift - with the help of one of Northern Ireland's most famous faces.

The historic building will become The George Best Hotel.

The footballing legend's family are touched that his legacy lives on.

Barbara McNarry, George's sister said at the unveiling: “Initially we were told they wanted to name a room in a hotel after George and then we discovered it was a whole hotel, of course we were apprehensive, it’s a huge undertaking and I’m excited and nervous, I’ve got butterflies in my tummy just thinking about being in this iconic building.

When I think back to George Best coming from 16 Burren Way, a humble house, to 16 Donegall Square South, well it just doesn’t get much better than that.

– Barbara McNally, George Best's sister

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Each room in the hotel will aim to tell a previously unknown story about George Best.

And the Best family have given the owner some of their own precious memorabilia to start the process.

The hotel developer will spend £15m transforming this landmark Belfast building into an 80-bedroom hotel. He hopes for it to be open in less than a year. It's also part of a more ambitious plan to build a total of four hotels across the city over the next few years.

Lawrence Kenright, from Signature Living Group, said: “To relate to a great footballer and a great man, is probably a bit more difficult, and to ensure that we’re not too one-sided, we need to make sure that we reflect as well.”

There is much work still to do to get the 100-year-old building ready to welcome guests.

Both the Best family and the owner hope that when it is, it will link the city's building history with fond memories of the Belfast boy.