One of Belfast's most high profile businessmen has launched a bid for a new aparthotel in the centre of the city.
Andras House director Rajesh Rana, who already owns a series of hotels, has notified Belfast City Council of his plans for the site on Bedford Street.
Mr Rana, who has served as president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce since June 2018, is seeking to redevelop a site opposite the BBC's headquarters on Ormeau Avenue.
The proposal, which remains at the pre-application stage, involves retaining the existing four storey terraced building fronting onto Bedford Street, converting the property into offices.
The bid also provides for a new ground level café, which would sit between JD Wetherspoon's Belfast premises and Pizza Express.
Most significantly, the application seeks to build a new aparthotel building behind the offices, installing a new glazed link to connect it with the terrace.
Last year Andras launched a bid to redevelop a former bank on Main Street Portrush into an aparthotel style project. It's expected to compliment the group's £6.6m project to redevelop the former Londonderry Hotel into an 87-bed resort in the tourist hotspot.
Mr Rana's hotel portfolio in Belfast currently includes the Crowne Plaza in Shaw's Bridge, Hampton by Hilton, two Holiday Inn venues and two IBIS hotels. Andras House also operates serviced apartments on the Lisburn Road.
The new Bedford Street project would sit alongside a number of rival hotels including the Park Inn by Radisson and two Maldron ventures, the Clayton Hotel on Ormeau Avenue and the new Maldron hotel on Brunswick Street, which opened last year.
The north's largest and most expensively constructed hotel, the Grand Central, is just a few yards down the street.
Mr Rana's application emerged as Belfast City Council last week signed off on a proposal to build a new 175-bed aparthotel on Queen Street.
Oakland Holdings, which is headed by developer Gareth Graham, is set to go ahead with the demolition of the existing building at Lydon Court. The new project will include bar, restaurant and conferencing facilities.
High profile Belfast developer Paddy Kearney's Kilmona group has also pressing ahead with plans for two aparthotels in the outskirts of the city.
The £40m proposals would extend Mr Kearney's Ten Square brand into accommodation ventures on Stockman's Way and Apollo Road.
An event to outline the nature of Mr Rana's new aparthotel bid is due to take place at the Holiday Inn on Hope Street on October 22.
This article was first seen posted on http://www.irishnews.com/business/2019/09/23/news/andras-house-director-proposes-new-aparthotel-in-belfast-city-centre-1718057/