A new multi-million pound hotel – with a rooftop restaurant giving panoramic views of the Irish Sea and Mourne Mountains – could be built at the heart of a Co Down coastal resort.
A New York-based company has set its sights on delivering the development at the old Royal Mail sorting office in Newcastle, and bringing 45 new jobs to the district.
Located at Central Promenade, the site has been previously been used as a location for a fun fair since Royal Mail pulled out about 12 years ago.
Now Armau LLC is hoping for the stamp of approval for a new 41-bedroom hotel – at an estimated cost of £3.3 million – at the prominent site.
Proposals have been submitted to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for the exciting development, overlooking the sea.
There is planning approval already in place at the site for a retail and residential scheme, consisting of 14 apartments and two shops, but that has not materialised.
And now this is a complete change of direction for the area.
It is a venture which, according to papers accompanying the application, would bring 45 jobs – 35 full-time and 10 part-time positions.
It has been estimated that it would have an average annual turnover of £2.1 million, taking into consideration accommodation and food – bringing in wages to the local economy annually of around £800,000.
In fitting in with policy requirements, the development would, according to a design and access statement, help address an identified shortfall in tourist accommodation.
The hotel is described as being “residential in nature” and “fully compatible with the surrounding land uses”.
The design has been inspired by the old three-storey Bellevue Hotel, which itself commanded a prominent position on Central Promenade until it burnt to the ground in 1907.
This new hotel would include a restaurant on the roof – at third floor level – complete with viewing deck.
To address potential concerns about noise, it would not open beyond 10.30pm each evening. It is described as a “fine dining establishment” with no after dinner entertainment or music played in the restaurant.
The statement points to NMD Council’s five-year tourism strategy, launched last year, and goals achieved within it.
The developer’s submission states: “The council’s tourism strategy also recognises the demand for unique visitor experience, attracting new tourism business by specifically targeting specific market segments.
“The roof-top restaurant will deliver a visitor experience, whilst showcasing the best local produce and scenery.
“High levels of synergy will result with plans already being drawn up with local businesses for Newcastle food tours, which again fulfils the general thrust of the strategy’s objectives.
“Furthermore, the hotel aims to focus on active tourism, with excellent transport links to walking paths of the Promenade, the Mournes and Murlough.”
The hotel would have at its entrance a double height lobby, with adjacent restaurant and cafe. The rear of the ground floor would contain 11 rooms, with a further 17 rooms on the first floor and 13 on the second floor.
The third floor will be made up of the roof-top restaurant – complete with a walkway and conference room too!
The statement says there is a real need for such a scheme.
It adds: “There is a significant economic argument with clearly demonstrable benefits which will have a positive impact on the local community mainly through the creation of jobs, the increase in other local business through visitors attracted to the hotel and through the regeneration of a site within Newcastle which has been vacant for over 10 years.”
Plans will be publicly advertised this week before officials make their decisions, expected later in the year.