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Today’s news in brief – 21/2/24

BT Group has agreed to sell the iconic BT Tower to MCR Hotels for £275m. The sale comes as BT’s operations in the building have transitioned to other means, primarily through fixed and mobile networks. MCR Hotels plans to preserve the building by converting it into a hotel. Payments for the sale will be made over several years, with the final payment upon the completion of BT Group’s equipment removal from the building. Brent Mathews, property director at BT Group, expressed pride in the Tower’s legacy, while Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Hotels, pledged to develop it into an iconic hotel for future generations.

Lodging Economics reports that Europe’s hotel construction pipeline stands at 1,706 projects and 254,937 rooms as of Q4 ‘23. Upper upscale projects lead the pipeline, with 755 projects and 115,300 rooms under construction. Additionally, there are 418 projects/64,835 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months and 533 projects/74,802 rooms in early planning stages. The report highlights a significant increase in renovation and conversion projects. The United Kingdom leads in the number of projects, followed by Germany, France, Turkey, and Portugal. Major cities with large pipelines include London, Istanbul, Lisbon, Dublin, and Dusseldorf. Analysts anticipate continued growth in new hotel openings, with 348 new hotels and 48,559 rooms expected to open in 2024.

Merlin Entertainments is set to open a mediaeval-themed hotel in Warwick Castle in July, following a £16.4m investment. The hotel will accommodate over 300 guests and will feature rooms inspired by the Wars of the Roses era. The development includes planting 1,000 trees in the castle grounds. Liam Bartlett, general manager at Warwick Castle, expressed pride in the hotel, which aims to offer guests an immersive historical experience while providing modern luxuries. The new hotel adds to the existing accommodation options at Warwick Castle, enhancing the town’s visitor economy.

Belfast City Council’s planning committee has approved the construction of a new 74-bedroom hotel on Queen Street, along with two residential developments in the city. The hotel, to be housed in a Grade B1 listed building, will undergo refurbishment and include a 9-storey extension. The committee also granted planning permission for residential developments on Castlereagh Road and Hopefield Avenue. These approvals align with the city’s aim to increase residential population and enhance its attractiveness for visitors and residents alike. Councillor Matt Garrett, chair of the planning committee, emphasised the significance of revitalising heritage buildings and providing diverse housing options for the city’s growth and development.


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