Dear Barry

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If you've been in Belfast city centre recently, you'll notice the skyline has been transformed.

Cranes and construction sites. Lots of ‘em. All of a sudden it would appear the city is absolutely booming – so what’s the story?

Well, it’s got a lot to do with this place…

More specifically, the controversial new addition to this place. Some have dubbed it the 'sore on the shore', but there is no denying that the Waterfront Hall's extended conference facilities represent a massive injection of economic activity for Belfast.

With 7,000 m2 of purpose-built facilities, it now boasts capacity for 5,000 delegates. Big conferences attract big crowds from all over the world - and this is a different market from your average tourist.

Think about the type of person who is willing and able to travel halfway across the world to attend or speak at a conference. They are likely to be a big deal in their industry, with a big fat wallet to match.

Now multiply that by 5,000.

Let's be conservative and say half of those delegates bring one person with them; they make a little trip out of it.

In one fell swoop, you've got 7,500 people who need somewhere to stay, restaurants to feed them and attractions to entertain them.

So it's really no surprise that Belfast is a flurry of construction activity, and it's even less of a surprise that most of it involves building brand new hotels.

The star of the show is set to be the Grand Central Hotel on Bedford Street. 

This £54m colossus will transform the 23-storey Windsor House building - which already dwarfs the surrounding architecture.

Owner: Hastings Hotels

Developer: Grahams Construction

Accommodation: 304 bedrooms + retail units and offices

Rating: 4 star

Opening: Not yet confirmed

Virtually on its doorstep will be a hotel in the beautiful old Scottish Mutual Building.


It was actually due to open in Autumn 2016 but was beset by delays and was recently bought from the Hill family (owners of Galgorm Resort and Spas) for £15m.

Owner: Signature Living

Developer: Signature Living

Bedrooms: Not confirmed, likely to be 80+

Rating: Not confirmed

Opening: Not confirmed

Ten Square's extension within Lancashire House - to be known as the Linen Hotel - is also well underway; it's thought MSM Construction completed phase one in Autumn 2016.

The new Maldron Hotel is under construction on the site of the old Belfast Met college buildings on Brunswick Street.

It's not going to be small either, with 237 bedrooms over 14 storeys.

Hotel group: Dalata Hotel Group PLC

Developer: McAleer & Rushe

Accommodation: 237 bedrooms

Rating: 4 star

Opening: April 2018

Five minutes down the road, Belfast's first Hampton by Hilton Hotel is taking shape on Hope Street

It'll be virtually cheek to cheek with its Andras House sibling, The Holiday Inn. 

Owner: Andras House

Developer: MSM Construction

Accommodation: 179 bedrooms

Rating: Not known

Opening: Late 2017

Visitors will soon be able to down anchor at the brand new Titanic Belfast Hotel, on the site of the former Harland and Wolff Drawing offices.

With a prime location right beside Titanic Belfast and overlooking two of Belfast's most famous sons, Samson and Goliath, this hotel is nearing completion and has a slick website that's already taking bookings for September 2017.

Owner: Stanley Dock Hotel Ltd 

Developer: Harcourt Developments Ltd

Accommodation: 84 bedrooms

Rating: 4 star

Opening: September 2017

On the other side of the harbour, motorists on the M3 will have spotted that Belfast Harbour's ambitious City Quays project is well underway.

They've chosen Marriott International as the brand for the development's Marriott AC hotel, marking their first foray into the Northern Ireland market.

It's a collaborative venture, opening under a franchise operating agreement with Interstate Europe Hotels and Resorts.

Owner: Belfast Harbour

Developer: Gilbert Ash

Accommodation: 188 bedrooms

Rating: 4 star

Opening: Early 2018

Why does this matter for property investors and landlords?

Well, any savvy investor knows that owning, renting and selling property is easier and more lucrative in a town or city that is doing well. Property investment 101 right there.

A boom in hotel construction is particularly good news, however, because it creates jobs. More jobs in a vibrant, busy city means more people with decent wages looking for homes.

The inevitable expansion of the city centre, rising property prices and rents is set to coincide with a soaring student population in the city centre.

With the expansion of the University of Ulster, any construction in the city centre that isn't a hotel - you can be guaranteed it's for students.


Well-off students at that, with monthly rents beginning at around £650.

As well as expanding and adding value to the market in the city centre, this also means many people will be forced to cast their house-hunting net that little bit wider.

If you want to be ahead of the curve with this, we think you need to start looking at the likes of the Lower Antrim Road (think Annesley Street, Lincoln Avenue, Pim Street), Newtownards Road, York Street and Gresham Street for investment opportunities.

We reckon these will be the first ports of call for all those new hospitality workers and students who need to live somewhere with good links to the city, and don't have the budget to live right in the centre of it.



We hope you enjoyed this preview of a very exciting chapter in Belfast's story.

If you want to chat in more detail about how you can make the most of the opportunities, just drop us a line to, or pop into the office on the Lisburn Road.