An operator is being sought for a new waterfront hotel that will form part of the £250m City Quays development in Belfast Harbour.
Hotel companies are invited to submit expressions of interest in the operation of the 26,850 sq m "150 to 200 bedroom upscale hotel", which could open by 2017. The property will be developed and owned by Belfast Harbour, reported www.u.tv.
Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour's property director, described City Quays as an "exciting" opportunity to progress the historic regeneration of Belfast's waterfront.
He said: "City Quays 1, a Grade ‘A' office development, is already under construction and planning for an adjacent office project, City Quays 2, has been submitted.
"To complement these developments, along with plans for residential and local retail space, we aim to build a new waterfront hotel. To achieve a best-in-class product we are seeking expressions of interest to secure the expertise of an experienced hotel operator."
Danny Kennedy, regional development minister, welcomed the addition of a hotel to the development, and said it demonstrates Belfast Harbour Commissioners' commitment to the ongoing revitalisation of this area of the city.
"Not only will it provide a welcome boost to the local, and indeed regional, economy in terms of creating employment, it will also help satisfy Belfast's fast growing demand for top class hotel and conference facilities," he added.
Demand for bedrooms grew during the year, according to the annual Northern Ireland Hotel Industry survey, published last month. Average bedroom occupancy rate was 74.8%, up from 73.2% in 2012 and total revenues were also up 9.8% year-on-year. Overnight visitors to Northern Ireland were up 6% in 2013 spending £723m.
Gerry Lennon, chief executive, Visit Belfast, said: "The past decade of tourism investment and dedicated marketing have seen the industry grow fourfold, with the city now welcoming over 2.2 million overnight visitors to Belfast a year.
"With world-class attractions such as Titanic Belfast, conference centres such as the Waterfront Hall and headline acts choosing to host their events in Belfast, it is important we see further investment in the commercial accommodation sector to meet the growing demand for hotel rooms."