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£23M Gaol hotel gets formal approval!

A £23 MILLION redevelopment of Armagh Gaol into a luxury hotel – creating 350 jobs – was officially approved last night (Tuesday).

An application for the work on the former women’s prison was green-lighted in the monthly agenda presented by Planning Service to Armagh City and District Council.

The gaol development will include apartments, restaurants and public space.

Currently on the Built Heritage at Risk (BHARNI) list, the landmark building was built between 1780 and 1852 and was largely designed by architects Francis Cooley and William Murray. The gaol has lain vacant since its closure in 1988.

The developer, the Trevor Osborne Group in Partnership with the Princes Regeneration Trust, has already revamped Oxford Jail, which now operates as a Mal Maison boutique hotel.

Each bedroom in the new venture will be created from joining three cells together.

The first guests could be in their luxury cells within two years!

John Briggs, Armagh City and District Chief Executive, said he was delighted that the project was now “shovel ready”.

“We have been planning this project for a long time now and its wonderful to see that its now ready to go. The gaol has been a landmark in the city for 400 years but needed a new use to guarantee its preservation and its future,” he said.

“The hotel option will not only restore the fabric of a beautiful building, it will bring tourists who will spend in the wider community. We see this as a catalyst for the prosperity of the whole area. It is the classic win win.”

“Our research shows that such a unique hotel experience will be very marketable all over the world. By year five, its estimated that it will attract 50,000 to 80,000 visitors a year.

“This is not just a hotel.”

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