Leading Belfast hotel group, Andras Hotels, has submitted plans to restore, revitalise and refurbish the former Northern Bank building in Portrush to transform it into serviced apartments and a café bar.
The B+ listed building is housed on Main Street adjacent to the proposed new 87-bedroom Andras Hotel at the former Londonderry Hotel site. The proposed new project will feature six serviced apartments alongside a café bar with the original fabric of the building restored. Once complete, the project will help to further transform the area of great historical and architectural significance, driving tourism, regenerating the area and, alongside the hotel, will contribute an estimated £1.4million each year to the local economy.
The new Hotel and Serviced Apartments will also provide employment, both in the construction of both projects which will create 48 jobs and an additional 41 new jobs when they both open.
Andras Hotels was founded in Belfast in 1981 and since then has helped to shape and drive the tourism and hospitality landscape of Belfast. It currently operates six internationally-branded hotels with 1,000 beds in Belfast and a serviced apartment block on Belfast’s Lisburn Road.
Rajesh Rana, Director of Andras Hotels, said “We are really excited about the prospect of restoring this fine bank building and bringing it back to active use and we are committed to maintaining the architectural interest and integrity of the building.
“We see the former Bank project as being part of our hotel proposal, as the apartments will be operated from the hotel as serviced accommodation. They will be one and two-bedroom apartments, suitable for families, golfers and tourists visiting the North Coast.
“The ground floor will be a cafe bar which will be open to the public. This will see the existing Atlantic Bar licence transferred to provide continuity for this use, including acoustic live music.
“The combined impact of bringing both the former Bank building and Londonderry Hotel to active and economic use will be a real boost to the regeneration of Main Street.
Rajesh concluded, “We have a lodged a planning application and with the consent of Historic Environments Department, we hope to start work very soon. Our intention is to have the apartments completed in time for the Open Championship in July next year.”
Brian Madden, Director of Consarc, lead designer on the project added: “The proposed plans for the serviced apartments in the Bank building are hugely exciting and will help to further drive tourism to Portrush.
“We have ensured that the design ensures that the building is restored to a condition suitable for modern use, with the ground floor open for public use and the upper floors for residential – which is how the bank building was originally intended and ensures minimal modern intervention.
“Once complete the new apartments, alongside the hotel will be a fantastic addition to the seaside town and will go a long way in the regeneration and revitalisation of the local economy.
Brian concluded: “It will be the first time the bank building will be open since 2012 and Andras Hotels alongside ourselves are committed to ensuring that it is restored to be used again both the local community and tourists alike.”
Andras Hotels will now await the outcome of the planning application for the Bank building renovations.
Andras Hotels own and operate the following Belfast hotels; Holiday Inn® Express, Holiday Inn®, Belfast City Centre, two Ibis Hotels, the Crowne Plaza, Hampton by Hilton Hotel in the city’s Hope Street and Cordia Serviced Apartments. Visit www.andrashouse.co.uk for full details.