Liverpool-based hotel company Signature Living Group has purchased the Scottish Mutual Building from Ballymena's Tullymore House hotel group. The group will invest $19.2 million to turn the historic Belfast building—designed by architect Henry Seaver in 1904—into a luxury hotel.
In 2013, the Hill family's hotel group Tullymore House, which also owns the Galgorm Resort & Spa, acquired the property with plans to redevelop it, but those plans never came to fruition.
Now, Signature Living owner Lawrence Kenwright reportedly plans to preserve the heritage of the building's architecture in the renovations. “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,” he said. “We will ensure the building plays its part in telling the story of Belfast at its industrial peak.”
This acquisition is the second major purchase for Signature Living Group in Northern Ireland. It follows their March purchase of Belfast's Crumlin Road Courthouse. The hotel group plans to convert this historic building into a hotel as well.
The infamous courthouse, which closed in 1998, suffered major damage, including arson attacks. In 2004, developers planned to convert the courthouse into office buildings, and then into a 161-room hotel. None of those plans ever came to pass.
These purchases support Kenwright's plans to develop up to four hotels, including a George Best-themed hotel in Belfast. Kenwright did not confirm he intends the Scottish Mutual Building to maintain this theme.