Old Bank of Ireland could become boutique hotel if plans approved

A former Bank of Ireland in Derry could become a boutique hotel if a freshly submitted planning application is approved.

A design strategy completed by Sperrin Design Safety on behalf of the applicant Short. Visit Ltd. says the development will include a 38 double bedroom hotel and bar and restaurant.

The application is for a ‘material change of use from a bank to a boutique hotel from the ground floor to the third floor’ and the development of a new fourth floor extension with roof plant rooms.

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The statement quotes a Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) listing of the building, which describes it as the 'last Classically inspired banking hall remaining in the city, which was constructed in 1927-28 to designs by James Patrick McGrath, though façades only remain due to the 1979 bomb damage."

The old Bank of Ireland on the Strand Road which could become a boutique hotelThe old Bank of Ireland on the Strand Road which could become a boutique hotel
The old Bank of Ireland on the Strand Road which could become a boutique hotel

The building was originally home to The National Bank and operated as a financial institution, most recently as a Bank of Ireland branch, until October 1, 2021, after which it was bought by Short.Visit Ltd, a private property development company.

The façade originally erected in Portland stone in 1928 survives today.

The design statement outlines: “The Bank of Ireland building built in 1928 for The National Bank has been an important building to the local community and the local business community with a critical service to enhance the local economy and the City development and regeneration over the past century.

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“Given the changes in technology over the past decade the banking sector has changed with banking services moving online, this change resulting in banks reviewing their business plans. As a result this banking hall has come to the market and has been purchased by a private development company.”

The statement explains that as a result of the peace process demand for hotel beds has been growing.

“With the peace process and agreement since 1998 the tourism sector in Northern Ireland as a whole and in particular in Derry-Londonderry has been growing year on year.

“The sector has resulted in the creation on job opportunities in the tourism industry in the City.

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“There have been several examples in the past decade where Listed Buildings in the City have been successfully converted to boutique hotels and they are still thriving businesses today, Bishop's Gate Hotel and Shipquay Boutique Hotel,” the statement concludes.

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