Signature Living confirms purchase of Crumlin Road Courthouse
14 Mar 2017
Signature Living confirmed today that it has purchased the iconic Crumlin Road Courthouse in Belfast and will invest £25million in restoring the building to its former glory. The Courthouse will become the home for the first of up to five new hotels that the luxury hotel developer will bring to city in the next three years.
The announcement was made at MIPIM in Cannes, France, where a 70-strong delegation of Belfast business leaders is presenting a portfolio of major real estate and development opportunities in the city to an audience of over 28,000 international property investors, developers and occupiers.
Speaking at the Belfast stand at MIPIM, Signature Living’s founder and chairman Lawrence Kenwright said that his key focus will be on preserving the architectural heritage of the Charles Lanyon-designed Courthouse, built in 1850.
“The Crumlin Road Courthouse is the latest in a series of landmark heritage buildings to be lovingly restored by Signature Living, including 30 James Street – the former headquarters of the White Star Line in Liverpool – and Cardiff’s historical Coal Exchange building.
“The Courthouse is currently in a state of disrepair and our focus will be on sympathetically restoring the building to its former glory in a way that is both true to its architectural heritage, and aligns with the exciting style for which Signature Living is reputed.
“We see ourselves simply as custodians of these important buildings and the Courthouse will very much still belong to the people of Belfast. For us, this is an investment in the local Belfast community and, as well committing around £25million to the restoration project, we will be investing in a series of community initiatives – including the launch of a special apprenticeship academy – in the coming months.”
Last month, Signature Living also announced that it would also bring a George Best-themed hotel to Belfast later this year and plans develop as many as four additional hotels in the city, creating at least 500 jobs.
Mr Kenwright said that Belfast presented Signature Living with a compelling proposition for investment: “I first encountered Belfast last year at MIPIM 2016 and immediately saw a future in the city for Signature Living,” he commented. “We are entering the Belfast market at a really exciting stage in its development and I am confident that this new hotel in the Crumlin Road Courthouse will bring something new to the city’s burgeoning tourism sector.”
Belfast City Council Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie welcomed the announcement, saying: “MIPIM provides us with an important opportunity to showcase the momentum that is driving Belfast’s growth and success, and announcements like this from Signature Living are testament to the city’s attractiveness as a place in which to invest for inward investors, developers and occupiers.
“A surge in tourism in Belfast in recent years has brought about a need for over 2,000 additional beds, so this hotel is good news for the city and complements steps being taken to continuing driving a growth in visitor numbers to the city through initiatives such as the IRFU Rugby World Cup 2023 bid and the European Capital of Culture 2023 bid.
“Furthermore, Signature Living’s investment will not only bring a significant number of new jobs prior to and after the launch of the new hotel, importantly, the creation of a number of apprenticeship opportunities for the local community surrounding the Crumlin Road Courthouse.”