Ireland development picks up with investments in Belfast

After acquiring a nine-hotel portfolio for $560 million at the end of 2014, Delata Hotel Group, Ireland's largest hotel operator, said the trend of cheap hotel deals could be coming to an end in the country. Increased development throughout Ireland, particularly in Belfast, could be a sign of things to come, with prices and interest on the rise.

To that point, the Irish Times reported that Belfast's former department of justice building is being converted into a US $6.2-million hotel, developed by the Beannchor hospitality group. The "Bullitt" hotel is looking to modernize the city by going after a younger, tech-savvy market while creating up to 100 jobs for the city. But most important is that Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE NI, told the Irish Times that a "period of investment" is coming to the city's hospitality sector.

"After seven to eight years of inactivity, the correct drivers are in place for this sector. Increasing tourism, successful public events, affordable land prices, high levels of occupancy in hotels and general consumer confidence means we will see a raft of hotel development and also the trading of existing hotels over the next couple of years,” Lavery said.

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The Bullitt hotel is the most recent investment as of today, but the largest took place late last week with the $47-million redevelopment of one of Belfast's largest buildings into a 200-room hotel. The 23-story hotel is being developed by the Hastings Hotel Group, and is looking at a 2018 opening under the Grand Central Hotel moniker.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Dalata Group will be rebranding its 13 newly acquired hotels across the UK and Ireland under the Clayton Hotels flag. According to Irish Building, Dalata is investing $42.4 million in the redevelopment and upgrade of the hotels.

“It’s an exciting time for the Dalata team," Pat McCann, founder and CEO of Dalata Hotel Group told Irish Building. "Our strategy is to leverage the group’s core asset management, hotel operation and development capabilities to grow the business. It is fantastic to see this coming to life with the launch and forthcoming roll out of Clayton Hotels here in Ireland.”

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