Go ahead for Armagh gaol to be hotel
The green light has been given for the former Armagh Gaol to be turned into a four star luxury hotel.
It is hoped the £23m project will create 350 jobs.
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 four hundred 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 -80,000 visitors a year.
“This is not just a hotel,” he added.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “I very much welcome Armagh City and District Council’s backing for the redevelopment of Armagh Gaol. It will create a vibrant destination within the city, contributing to tourism in the area and bringing an important but currently unused listed building back into use.
“The overall project cost is £23million, with £15million of that coming from grants to support the scheme. The proposal will create in the region of 320 local jobs.
“This is a huge redevelopment scheme which will benefit all of Armagh and the surrounding areas for many years,” the SDLP minister continued.
“It will create much needed employment during the development of the site and the construction of the new buildings. It will contribute to the tourism potential of the Armagh Area, providing much needed tourism accommodation within the city.”