A DEVELOPER behind plans to turn a former Belfast tax office into a new high-end office venture has revealed plans to turn it into a 113-room city center aparthotel.
Banbridge-based Lotus Property bought Beaufort House on Wellington Place in February 2020 after HMRC moved down the street to its new flagship Erskine House.
The Lotus Group, which owns The Boulevard and The Junction outlets, last year obtained planning permission for ‘The Well’, a new nine-storey office venture, dubbed ‘the world’s largest office building. healthiest in Belfast”.
Work on the 35,000 square foot project was due to begin this year, with the new office space already on the market.
But with office occupancy rates yet to recover from the impact of Covid-19, and the city center already awash with high-quality vacant office space, Lotus has gone back to the drawing board. .
The company has filed a change of use application with Belfast City Council, seeking permission to develop 113 bedrooms on the first to eighth floors.
It would be a mix of single, twin and double rooms, with between 10 and 16 units per floor.
Plans also call for a bar and restaurant on the ground floor.
A letter from planning consultancy TSA says the work will include an upgrade to the front facade of the building.
The site, sandwiched between the Progressive Building Society building and Swanston House student accommodation, is located just around the corner from a 175-unit aparthotel, under construction on Queen Street.
Lotus said when the larger project is complete, the proportion of aparthotel units in the city’s overall hotel stock will be 4.5%, lower than Dublin’s (5.3%) and Manchester (8.1%).
“If approved, the proposed change of use for Beaufort House would increase the total share of hotel stock in the city center to 6.85% and increase market options for visitors to Belfast.”
Lotus is also involved in a £55million student housing project opposite St Patrick’s Church on Donegall Street. It is expected to include around 720 student units when completed.