City hotel back on track as Scottish Mutual sells

Lawrence Kenwright outside the Scottish Mutual building
Lawrence Kenwright outside the Scottish Mutual building

The fortunes of a Belfast city centre landmark have swung again with the purchase of the Scottish Mutual building from the Hill family by the Signature Living Group.

The group, behind the redevelopment of the Crumlin Road courthouse and plans for a George Best-themed hotel, confirmed that it intends to invest £15 million restoring the propery on Donegall Square South.

“The Scottish Mutual Building is now the latest in a series of landmark buildings to be carefully restored and developed into luxurious accommodation by Signature Living – such as 30 James Street, the former headquarters of White Star Line in Liverpool and the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff, home to the former coal exchange during the 1800s,” said Signature Living founder Lawrence Kenwright.

“The building is currently in a state 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. We will ensure the building plays its part in telling the story of Belfast at it’s industrial peak.”

The news follows the Liverpool-based company’s plans to open a George Best-themed hotel in the city, as well as develop as many as three additional hotels in the city, creating 500 jobs in the process.

It has not been confirmed if the Scottish Mutual Building purchase will transpire to be the George Best-themed hotel.

News of the development comes as the Hastings Group confirmed its investment in the new Grand Central hotel, around the corner on Bedford Street, will now reach £53m with revised planning permissionfor an additional 104 bedrooms, bringing the total number to 304 with the creation of over 150 jobs.

“This represents our company’s biggest single investment to date and is the sum required to create a top quality hotel befitting the name,” said founder and chairman Sir William Hastings.